I have had some pretty incredible birthdays.
Mardell surprised me with a party when I turned thirty.
When I hit forty, I threw a big ass party and invited forty people.
(So what if 32 of them were perfect strangers and the rest were family?!)
Next year when I turn 50, I will also be celebrating 25 years with
my best friend and soul mate and we have talked about doing
something special to commemorate the two milestones, so I had
no problem being in GEON on my birthday.
I had no clue it would be a memorable day as well.
When I walked into class, Shari had a birthday cake
drawn on the board.
She made my day right there because I've
never celebrated my birthday at school before!
Tom even made sure that I had a cake
and Lonnie served it up for everyone.
It was German Chocolate and very, very good.
The day consisted of more lectures
and activities before going into the field.
(See Mary Alice ... knives are good for Play-Doh as well as candy!)
We had to use shaving cream or play-doh to make a land feature
that we had seen the previous two days.
Let's just say that the sculptors of the world needn't
worry about competition. I'm not quitting my day job!
I have learned more than I can hold in my head .... I have
pages of notes of things to look up once I get back next week.
The team made time for us to visit the
Mari Sandoz Historical Society Center here on campus.
I enjoyed this a lot and I am quite sure that
Marishe and I could have been good friends had
we lived in the same time period and place.
I wish school didn't start until after Labor Day
because there are so many places that I want
to come back to so that I can poke around some more.
We ate lunch and returned to the classroom.
We didn't exactly mind since it was
We got to visit the Museum of the Black Hills which is
the baby of Dr. Leighty. It spanned 10,000 years of the Black Hills
and was very interesting, but I was more entranced
with watching the scientist sort out mosquitoes to send off for West
Nile testing. It looked about as tedious as cataloging books.
(But don't worry Vicki, I haven't bought any more books. No sirree!)
Then we drove out to the Museum of the Fur Trade.
You'll never guess what I found out there!
Jen told me that I could at least wait
until the engine stopped
before I started looking for geocaches!
My goal is to find at least one cache
on each date of the year within the next four years.
(It's good to have goals, you know.)
I've already gotten leap year
out of the way so I think it's doable.
I think the curators must use an extensive amount
of mothballs in order to preserve the furs. I began
seeing an aura within fifteen minutes of being inside and I
had to have Traci take me back to the college.
My motto is "Better living through chemistry".
No, wait ... maybe it's "Twenty minutes of sleep will fix anything."
At any rate, I was as good as new again so we walked to the park
for our exotic cook-out.
We had alligator, wild boar, Rocky Mountain oysters,
venison (four or five different ways), bear, crayfish and frog legs.
I tried a bit of everything, but my favorite is still wild boar.
All too soon, the sun sank below the horizon and we had to head back.
(Photo courtesy of Jennifer Towles)
The culminating event was the movie "I Left My Heart at Wounded Knee."
I only made it through about thirty minutes and I just couldn't watch anymore.
Reading about the atrocities is horrible enough without visualizing them.
Those images are going to be stuck in my head for a long time.
Tomorrow we go to the Pine Ridge reservation.
I've tried to prepare myself for it,
but I know that I won't be.
It was horrible enough watching the ABC special
on Pine Ridge this past spring.
Thanks to everyone for making my birthday so special!