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Friday, June 29, 2012

101 Places to See Before You're 12 - A Repair Shop

A Repair Shop

This week, on a big bike ride, we stopped by the Bike Shop to get a new battery for my speedometer and to check out bicycles for Brennan.  He loves his bike, but he's outgrowing it quickly.  He insisted he didn't want a new bike, but fell in love with one immediately. 

We went back a couple of days later and made the purchase.  This bike will last him for years and years, and he is a biking fool of a kid - on his bike way more than the rest of us. 

While we were waiting for them to do a serious check on the bike before we loaded it up, we asked if we could have a little tour, as one of our 101 Places.  The family who owns our bike shop happily agreed.

Sorry, only iPhone photos again...

Our tour guide first loaded up Brennan's new bike and checked the tires, brakes, gears, and frame.
While he was working we checked out behind the shelving where bikes are being worked on that need more serious repairs.

Brennan especially liked their bike storage system - hanging bikes that also needed to be repaired.

Fuzzy, but here are the owner and employee putting a speedometer on Brennan's bike.
There were a lot of bikes in to be fixed but they wanted us to get what we needed and not have to wait long.

After a tour of the repair area, they asked if we wanted to see some of the other bikes.  I asked Brennan to pose with the "girl, little kid bikes" - he wanted to make sure it was clear in the photo that he was NOT interested in this kind of bike!

However, he was very interested in the unicycles, and went on to lecture tell us about how he learned to ride a unicycle.  I questioned that declaration.  Then he revised to explain that he learned how to ride one by reading about them in a book.  So he was sure he could just get on this one and ride.

They had a ton of bicycles, and Brennan dutifully took a look at all the ones in his size, but wanted that first one that he spotted on Day 1.

He now has a serious bike for serious rides!

From the Book:
#43 - A Repair Shop
Cars, appliances, cameras, bicycles, you name it - everything breaks.  And somebody, somewhere, knows how to fix it.  If you're the kind of kid who has to take everything apart to see how it works, you've really got to see a repair shop.  When your parents take the car in for repairs, ask whether you can take a look as the mechanics put it up on a lift or get under the hood.  When your bike needs fixing, ask if you can watch the bike mechanic do the work.  Watch as your washing machine repair person pulls tubes and wires out and puts everything back together again.  Who knows, you may even figure out how to put something you took apart back together again.

101 Places to See Before You're 12 - A Courthouse

A Courthouse

After leaving City Hall to visit our Elected Official's Office, we headed across the street to our County Courthouse.

The boys had visited the Courthouse before with their classes, but we had not all been together.  It was a quiet day in the Courthouse, but we took some time to walk through and see all that we could.

Our Courthouse was built in the 1870s by a local architecture firm.  It is in an asymetrical L shape to face two main streets in our town.  It was the first fireproof building in Indiana.

Again, excuse our helmet hair.  We were on a big bike ride.
We really liked the beautiful architecture.  These columns are replicated in many places throughout the building.  The boys thought they were super fancy.

The spiral staircases up to the 2nd and 3rd floors were real highlights. 
Brennan does not believe he has ever been on a spiral staircase before.
Thomas doesn't care for them because "you can't tell how much farther you have to go."

One of the local judges was out, but his administrator asked us if we'd like to step in the courtroom.
We got to see where the defender and prosectuor sit, the judges' "desk", where the "media" sit, and the jurors.  The boys were pretty impressed that a courtroom would be so "fancy".

We stopped by several offices as well, like the County Assessor's Office, County Treasurer, Marriage License Office, etc.  We realized a lot of officials work in the courthouse, and it was a pretty cool building to work in.

From the Book:
#75 - A Courthouse
The courthouse is usually the most impressive building in town - big Greek columns on the front, maybe a rotunda on top.  It has to look very serious because important things happen there - people get married, file legal documents, or go to trial.  With so many momentous events happening under its roof, a courthouse is a very dramatic place (that's probably why so many TV shows are based there).  Sign up for a courthouse tour and see lawyers and judges in action.  Observe jury selection, an arraignment (when people find out what charges have been brought against them), or even a trial.  Ask questions if you can't figure out what's going on.  You'll get a close-up view of the justice system in action, and you'll be really glad you're on the right side of the law.

101 Places to See Before You're 12 - Your Elected Official's Offices

Your Elected Official's Offices

Earlier this week the boys and I parked our car at their school and spent the day riding our bikes all over town, and then some.  We hit 3 playgrounds along with a stop for a snow cone, for lunch, and even to run some errands like exchanging books at the library.  It was a ton of fun and we're anxious to do it again this summer!

While on our ride we decided to make a couple of stops to visit some 101 Places.
I only had my phone with me for photos, so excuse the quality below!

First up was our town's City Hall.

Our City Hall was designed by architect Edward Charles Bassett and is in a triangular shape - the front facing downtown is one of the sides of the triangle. 

It's a cool building and always open to the public.  I've attended a number of meetings in the building - they have great conference rooms.

They currently have sister-city displays and art by students from one of the local high schools displayed.  We had to check them out.

Our Mayor was out when we arrived, but if you look up top you can see the entrance to her offices.
We stopped in and the administrative personnel showed us around but I didn't take any photos there.
We looked scary enough with our helmet hair, just stopping by without calling first!

Sister City display

High School art work

It was cool to stop by and see where our city officials work - then we headed off to go visit the county officials!

I love this view of the start of downtown from City Hall.

From the Book:
#28 - Your Elected Official's Offices
You are many things to many different people:  a son or daughter, a student, a friend.  But to someone in your nation's capital, you are a constituent.  That means that person, let's just call her Ms. Politico, works for you.  Her job is to figure out what you (and thousands of your closest neighbors) think about certain issues, and how she can represent your views.  So you need to tell her what you think.  That's right, little old you can schedule a meeting with her (or one of her staff members), and let your views be known.  She may not always agree with your opinion, but she is professionally obligated to listen to you!  Isn't democracy cool?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Thomas Turns Twelve

Thomas turned 12 today!
It is really, really hard to believe.
This was a very light week for us so we had the day to spend any way he wanted.

He got up early so he could open presents before Dad left for work.
He chose a number of "necessary" items like a fancy charger for the car for his electronics.

And we surprised him with a Kindle.  He was really shocked and spent the entire day getting to know it and downloading apps.

Because of the inability to add any parental controls to a Kindle, he knows we are checking out his activity nightly when he "turns it in" to us at 8:00 p.m. 

He absolutely loves it and all the gifts he received.  He spent the day smiling and thrilled that he's 12.
We also set up his facebook account today.  I doubt he'll spend much time there since he's not a girl :)
But he can keep up with friends and family a little more now.

He chose to go to our local drive-in hamburger place for lunch, and then we saw "Brave" at the movie this afternoon.  Then we met Dad at Zaharako's for supper and ice cream.

A wonderful, wonderful birthday I think!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Summer Fun - part 2

We have been really enjoying the last couple of weeks with a little less going on.
In July the boys will be in various camps, so it's been great to spend time together each day.

A couple of weeks ago Thomas's band camp ended with a concert downtown.
The 7th graders played a number of summer songs for us including Katy Perry's "Firework" and some Beach Boys tunes.

They did a great job!

Thomas is in the middle, playing trumpet

Photo op time

After the concert Thomas went home with his good friend Nate for a sleepover.
Thomas loves going to Nate's because he has 3 younger siblings and he absolutely loves to spend time with them - and the feeling is mutual.

Brennan got to spend a little time with younger brothers Ryan and Matt after the concert before we all parted.

We got Brennan a toy that used to be called a Lemon Twister when I was growing up. 
Now it has all sorts of names including "Skip It".  Turns out it's really hard to do with Crocs on!

A new baby in the family!!
David's cousin Christopher and his wife Amanda had a sweet baby girl!
Jane Marie is absolutely beautiful and we can't wait to meet her.
She is the first child in the next generation in David's family!

Thomas became a babysitter this month!
He completed the Babysitter's Course through our Park and Rec department, put his business plan together, and asked if I would let friends know he is available.
After I wrapped my head around that possibility, I did, and he babysit cutie patootie Gigi one Saturday afternoon.  I wish I had thought to take a photo - they were so cute playing together!  She and Thomas got along great and he had a terrific first babysitting experience.

Here he is after he got home.  So proud!

We have a ton of wildlife in our backyard because of the ravine and trees I assume.
We've had a groundhog for years who ventures into the backyard to snack on the super tart/gross apples that fall off our apple tree.
We see him out there when we come in from the garage.  He just stares at us with a "What?" look on his face and goes about his business.

I have herbs in pots sitting on the patio out in this area and I found that someone had eaten all the parsley I had planted.  I thought it odd that the parsley didn't make it, but the mint, cilantro, rosemary, and chives did make it.  So I purchased more parsley and before I planted them in the pots, they were eaten out of the little packages!  Now my new dill is gone too!

I assumed it was Phil, our groundhog.

Then, the other morning David called us all to see a possum in the backyard.
Eating our apples and the new grass David had planted.
I couldn't believe David was going to walk out towards the possum, and I couldn't believe what the possum did.

It played possum! 
It just laid there as David got as close as he dared and stayed perfectly still.
It finally got bored and ran off into the woods.

See all the little apples?

Then this morning Thomas called us to come see a deer in the same spot!
Looking - she's eating an apple!  (I assume she's a she)

And while she noticed us, she just went back to eating.
Don't look at our pitiful grass back here.  We're in a drought and the sprinklers can't keep up.

We watched her for a long time.

She watched us too, but stayed long after we went back to our morning.

So there's no telling WHO has been eating my parsley, and to think I blamed poor Phil the groundhog all this time!
My mom says we could open a petting zoo in our backyard!

Our Philharmonic hosted its very first night club event in town on Saturday.
I went with friends from our wine club to see Steve Lippia singing Sinatra.
Vegas came to Southern Indiana.  It was fantastic!

I only took a lipstick and my iPhone so the photos aren't great, but the night was.

Mary and me - pre-party

Philharmonic Conductor David, his wife Donna (left), and our sweet friend Jayne

Ginger and me
 Barry and Leigh

Ginger and John

Mike and Mary

A great night of music, dancing, wonderful friends!

New York, New York!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

What I've Been Reading - June 2012

I feel like I've finally gotten back on track with my long to-read list. 
I took a little break back there in the spring, but have read a few non-health books that I thought I'd share, and link up with Ricki Jill on her Literary Friday linky party.

David and I have been reading a number of interesting health/diet/cookbooks since we've altered some of our eating habits, but I doubt they're of interest, so I'll just share the literature books at this time!  You can see all I've been reading on goodreads.com.

My daytime book club chose Same Kind of Different as Me for our July read.
This is a true story of Ron Hall, a Texas art dealer, and Denver Moore, a Louisiana sharecropper turned homeless man turned artist.  Their personal histories and the development of their friendship is really fascinating, and the fact that the story is true is utterly amazing.  A spiritually inspiring, and surprisingly quick, read.  Looking forward to the discussion with the As the Page Turns ladies.

Really Liked It

I picked up The Essential 55 years ago and finally pulled it off the shelf. 
After reading through it I thought it would be great to read with the boys.

For the past few months we've taken on a different "Rule" over dinner, discussing Mr. Clark's thoughts on everything from table manners to turning in homework.
Manners in general are extremely important to me and something we expect of the boys, and this book covers it all.
While geared to his students, we found a way to turn it into a quick dinner time conversation.

Ron Clark's story was captured in a tv movie with Matthew Perry playing the teacher.
I didn't see the movie, but heard good things.

Really Liked It

Lora chose The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks for our Litwits (nighttime book club) June read.
We met over dinner to discuss this past week.
I was so glad Lora chose this because it's one I'd been wanting to read for a couple of years.
It is the true story of a poor southern woman who died of cancer 60+ years ago, but whose cells were the first human cells to grow outside of her body.  They have been replicated and used to cure and study countless diseases, yet her family had no knowledge and had never been compensated.

While it is a really fascinating and bittersweet story, I think the writing could have been better.
The second half is more the story of the author trying to get the story from Henrietta's disturbed children and less on Henrietta herself. 

Liked It

What's with all the non-fiction I've been reading?  That's not like me at all!
Yet, I'll close out this post with the latest read I finished, one I loved called A Girl Named Zippy, recommended by As the Page Turns member Beth.

Zippy grew up in tiny Mooreland, Indiana and decided to write a memoir of her childhood.
Her brother and sister couldn't believe anyone would read such a boring nothing of a book, because it wasn't a fascinating place to live, and nothing much happened.

The beauty of this true story is in the writing and reflections of a precocious, curious, never-bathed little girl who recalls stories with humor and clarity.  It touches on some tough subjects, but it's mostly the story of a simple life in a simple place in a far simpler time.  I'm looking forward to Haven Kimmel's follow up books.

Loved It

And that's what I've been reading for the past couple of months!