Monthly Archives: March 2007

Everglades National Park: Shark Valley

Shark Valley Sign

As promised, I’m making a separate entry for our trip to the Everglades. On Thursday we went to Shark Valley, part of the Everglades National Park.

Ian and Val at Everglades

It was pretty crazy, and cool to be able to say I’ve been to the Everglades. I really wasn’t sure what it would be like.

Some of it was just wide open space. Almost looked like we were on an African safari.

Emily and Val at Everglades


Ian and Val at Everglades

Some parts had boardwalk-type paths.

Dad and Val at Everglades

Some parts were shady with much foliage.

Val at Everglades

While there, as you can imagine, we saw all sorts of animals.

A crazy bird:

Bird At Everglades

Many turkey vultures.

We found a turtle that looked like a WWI army helmet.

Turtle at Everglades

The little lizards were cute (not that I’d get too close).

Little lizard at Everglades

But, I was pretty scared about the aligators. I had no choice, but to walk past many of them. We probably saw at least a dozen different ones, with nothing between them and me. I looked up that aligators (unlike crocodiles) won’t attack humans unless provoked. I also learned that there defense mechanism is to open their mouth and hiss at you (that’s before they lunge at you to destroy you). I took that as a sign to break out into a cold sweat, look straight ahead and increase my walking speed without making any sudden movements.

Aligator and sign at Everglades

My dad on the other hand, took that as a sign to take some up-close pictures of the gators before briskly
walking away.

Aligator at Everglades

Adam was a little afraid of the alligators too, but he was happy because they helped him win Scavenger Bingo in his Junior Ranger activity book.

Adam - Junio Ranger

Not everything at the Everglades were scary animals. They also had informational signs pointing out things like poisonous leaves that cause severe rashes and a warning about solution holes.

Solution Holes

If they’re going to warn you about solution holes, they really should give a heads up about what they’re talking about, but that’s just my opinion.

It was nice to get to go on a day-trip together. My family, especially my dad, doesn’t really get to take vacations, so it was pretty special.

Family at Everglades


Family at Everglades

Of course, in typical family-craziness, my sister agreed to a dare to strip down to her bathing suit, in the Everglades. My dad then proceeded to have a photo shoot for what I imagine will ultimately be MySpace (or perhaps FaceBook) photos for Emily.

Emily in Bathing Suit At Everglades

Nobody got eaten by an alligator, so overall a good trip!

Spring Break 2007!

In case you didn’t know, we were down in Florida this past week (thanks, mom and dad!). Val and I went down with my sister on Monday. Here’s Emily and Val and Logan:

Emily and Val atLogan

Once there, we rented a mini-van, because in 3 days my mom, dad and brother would be joining us.

Emily and Mini-Van

Travel went smooth and soon we were enjoying nice Florida weather with my grandparents and other elders.

Fort Lauderdale

Sleeping arrangements were interesting. It was fine though. Val loved it when Emily got lonely not (haha…sidenote: Emily loves quoting Borat in public).

Val attacked by Emily in bed

But, we didn’t spend the past week with elders alone. No, no. We were there for SPRING BREAK 2007! Haha…

The timing of this actually was on purpose because my sister (who is a senior in college this year) has her spring break off, so we based it on that. It being Spring Break, didn’t affect us much, although Val, my sister and I did put in a couple beach hours on Tuesday (how could we go down to Florida without at least spending a little time at the beach?). It was nice and relaxing…

Val at Beach

Ugh…yes, that’s my sister behind Val. My dad’s reaction to the picture was “Who’s that behind Val?” so I had to break it to him that it’s his daughter. It was pretty weird with Spring Break and reckless college drinking (without even being discreet). Actually, it was so intense that Fox news showed up.

Fox News

The reporter guy was so funny. He just looked like…I don’t know…exactly how a beach reporter should. My sister said he looked like a tool.

On Wednesday we picked up the rest of my family at the airport, piled into the mini-van, and took them back to Nana and Popi’s place.

Family and Mini-Van

The nice reasons we wanted to visit were that next month is Nana’s (that’s my grandmother) birthday — she’ll be 85 (and doesn’t seem it)! Popi (my grandfather) is 87. We also wanted to take them out to dinner for their 60th wedding anniversary!

Here’s a picture of them 60 years ago:

Nana and Popi - 1947

They’ve met Val once before (about 2 years ago), but it was nice for them to see her again and check out her new ring. :)

We all spent time with Nana and Popi and some time with a first cousin once removed that wanted to hang out. Ends up that cousin said his dad (deceased) was affiliated with Brandeis (a V.P. or something), so I’ll have to look into that. Speaking of family, I also talked to Nana and Popi about my ongoing family tree project. I was able to get some new names and also confirm some information that I wasn’t sure about. Cool stuff!

Nana mostly stayed inside, except when we went out to eat, but Popi ventured outdoors and showed us the complex’s pool.

Mom and Popi

My brother, Adam, enjoyed the pool.

Adam Jumps In Pool

My parents wanted to go on a day-trip while Val and I were still there, so we went down to the Everglades on Thursday (I’ll write about that separately). Then before we knew it, it was Friday and we had an early flight back North to Boston. It was sad to go. Hope to see them again soon.

Don’t go to work sick

So, for some reason the past few weeks, everyone has been getting sick. My mom wasn’t feeling great for a while and lost her voice for a bit. She did, however, play the keyboard, so that’s nice.

Mom Plays Keyboard

Anyways, at work many people were sick. Actually during one day I think the majority of us stayed home sick. People referred to it as the WaLAS plague (yeah, my office is called WaLAS). For some reason Tania came to work on Thursday even though she had a case of the plague. Okay, not really a plague, but a cold mixed with a sinus infection. She just wasn’t looking her normal happy self. It was sad seeing her in this condition, not to mention the rest of us didn’t want her cooties, so we were forced to quarantine her desk.

Tania's Desk Quarantined

Don’t think we’re all bad. Note, that there is some soup on her desk too. We did want her to get better! Luckily we were able to convince her to go home and get some rest. She did go home, but then she emailed pictures of her cat, as my co-workers tend to do!

Ali’s Dinner

Val alluded to a meal her sister Alison made. Here’s the pictures associated with that event.

First, Val took Ali food shopping at a local (to us) store:

Val and Ali Shopping

It was a Sunday so it was super busy.

We then drove back to Val’s family’s house to bring back Alison. Nobody told them that Ali wanted to cook (even though I suggested she call them), so that was a fun surprise!

Ali Prepares Dinner

Ali seemed to enjoy making the dinner, although she also seemed to wish she was all alone because she’d make grumpy faces and politely whine whenever anyone offered to help or to see what she was up to.

Before you knew it she was already putting the finishing touches on the meal.

Ali and Dinner

She seemed very proud of her masterpiece dinner.

Ali and Food

And then we ate it up!
Ali and Food


First-Time Bus Driver?

So, Val said that “Ian just dropped us off while he went to find a spot.” I know you must be eager to hear what happened (don’t worry, nothing serious). I drop them off at the front of the MFA then hop back on Rt. 9 and take the next right onto a one-way street. I drive maybe 1/4 of the way down the street and slow down for a bus (from Vermont) leaving a parking lot on the right and attempting to turn right onto the one-way street.

Unfortunately this must have been his first time driving. Not even first time in a bus. Just first time driving. I wish I took pictures, but basically he’d try to turn and not have enough space, so he’d back up, but he’d turn the wheel the wrong way and just make his position worse. It had to go on for at least 15 minutes with people behind me even freaking out or just laughing. At one point he backed up perfectly, giving himself plenty of space, so the people behind me cheered! And then to our dismay, he drove forward cutting the wheel the completely wrong way making the bus pretty much horizontal across the street. Basically, it looked like this:
Sketch of bus near MFA

It was so bad that I wanted to get out of the car and drive it for him (I’ve never driven a bus, but I’m pretty sure I could do better!) Eventually somebody from a nearby parking garage came out and guided the bus the right direction. It still took them a couple tries, but in time the bus was able to make the turn and drove off (I just hope he got to go straight for a while).