Thursday, January 22, 2009


Is it bad that I cheer when I find out that my son is going to be gone an hour and half tomorrow night for his piano group lesson? That is 1.5 hours I now have to myself! I might be a little too happy about this....

Politics and Patriotism...

CNN is running a video today and the headline is paraphrased to say something like Rush Limbaugh hopes President Obama fails. It seems like kind of an odd thing for an American to say. Kind of like the Dixie Chicks saying they were ashamed to be from Texas because of President Bush. Our country may be represented by the Office of the President, but it succeeds or fails because of it's citizens. We elect the government. We are the government. If we want CHANGE, then we need to be that CHANGE regardless of who is President. The Declaration of Independence plainly and adamantly states that we have a right and duty to participate in our own governing. President Obama isn't going to save us, but I hope he can be the leader we need to pull us together, unite us all, so that we can save each other together. As with every new leader, I am hopeful that our future will be better and brighter for both my and my son's sakes, for all of us. All of us need to be a participant in sacrifice, effort, cooperation, and understanding if we really want change and a better future.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Another Geocache and a new very tragic cause to support....

While the weather was making up its mind here we decided to go on a geocache. We being my son and I, one of my neighbor's children, a beautiful, engaging, intelligent single mom (Chris) and her two children.

We went to try and find two geocaches at the Association for Research and Enlightenment (ARE). One was a microcache in the healing gardens. There was no healing to be had while the four boys were running around. It didn't take them long to find the large sheets of ice in the water ways there and start smashing them. Apparently they don't know what "Stay on the path" means either. They all had a great time though.
We did not find this cache. While the adults were looking like crazy, the kids were busy doing things I would rather not know about. We broke for lunch and then went on to cache #2.

ARE has a number of cool features. The healing gardens is one and includes a very cool bamboo forest. The reflexology path is another. The Labyrinth is my favorite. They have a massage therapy school, and they also have a large building where they host prayer, meditation, classes, and a store.

The second cache is a multi-cache. The multi-cache has two or more parts to it and each part leads to the next. In this case, we needed to find a specific brick in the labyrinth. The brick has two numbers on it. We had to perform a mathematical calculation on the numbers to get the last part of the latitude and longitude of the coordinates for the actual cache. With the clues we found it. The second part of the cache was .35 miles away in First Landing State Park.
Finding the second stage was actually pretty simple. The clues were good and we went right to it. Success!

Someone had the bright idea to race back to entrance of the trail. My legs were hurting from the 40 minute wind sprint fiasco of a soccer game I had the day before (we didn't have any subs). Almost everyone started running. My mind said "GO!", but my legs totally ignored it. I was urging them into a run, but I was still walking. After a few seconds of internal pleading, I got the legs going in a slow jog. Eventually I was able to move into a belabored and awkward sprint. Only by virtue of the sheer length of my stride was I able to win this little race.

Upon leaving the park we happened upon a woeful scene. It is to this atrocity that I must direct your attention. This cannot be allowed to happen anymore. Small children should not read any further. I warn you, one of the pictures below is graphic and is so sad it will surely call forth a river of tears for you as it did for me.

The dolphins are in danger, this is nothing new. However, the whole tragedy has yet to be revealed. I am so sorry I have to show you such a heinous crime, but the longer we refuse to face it, the more dolphins will end up like this one.

You will want to turn away, but don't.

They need our help.

The first two pictures below are symbolic of what dolphins are, the third is of what dolphins have become in some areas. We must fight this. Only you can prevent this from happening near you.

Please, I beg of you, don't let this happen in your neighborhoods. Fish nets are almost kind compared to this.

On that note I hope Tuesday brings happier thoughts and events to you.


Sunday, January 11, 2009

It's all about fun....Pirate and buried treasure fun!

Today I hosted my first Asperger's Support Group Meetup. We were originally scheduled for the 22 of December, but rain washed that fun away. We nearly got rained out today. Here is a section of what I wrote to describe the meetup:
"Brandon (11 yrs old) would like to invite out anyone 8 to 16 yrs old to join him on a treasure hunt. He has a map to hidden treasure and he needs a few helpful pirates to track it down.

If you have a pirate that is interested in helping please respond here and maybe have your pirate call Brandon to let him know too.

What you will need to bring is appropriate clothing for the weather and a small dollar store trinket to exchange in the "Cache". You may also want to bring some snacks and drinks in a small backpack.

If you have a handheld GPS unit that would be great as maybe we can split into two groups or some of the pirates can share the GPS duties.

What we will be doing is a Geocache (see We will meet at Chesapeake City Park for some play first and then head over to the Chesapeake Arboretum to find the treasure. We are given the GPS coordinates by the web site, but the coordinates only get us to within 30-90 ft or so of the hidden treasure. We have to look for it from there. In order to get something out of the treasure box, you have to put something in.

Chesapeake Arboretum is a very nice little park just off of Oak Grove road, across the street from Chesapeake General Hospital. It has a nice stream running through it with bridges at various points It is a beautiful spot and is always a lot of fun for a hike or a pirate adventure."

The turnout was great! We had 19 parents and kids show up even though it had been raining earlier and the temperature dropped 20 degrees between 10am and 1pm when the event started. We met at one park to give the kids some play time first.

After the fun at the Fun Forest (really when the parents were frozen through) we made our way over to the Chesapeake Arboretum for the treasure hunt ( Some of our Pirates even had eye patches and hats!

The geocache was a multi-cache, meaning the first stage had the coordinates for the second stage. We passed it twice before finding it! Everyone was really excited and came running.

It took a couple of minutes to round up the GPS units and figure out how to get them all reprogrammed for the new coordinates. The kids were really anxious to get going. The parents were all a bit frozen as the temperature kept dropping.

Finding the actual cache took some work, and we were consistently on all the wrong trails to get there. It also took some team work on the part of the kids as this thing was deep in a hole in a tree. The hole was five feet off the ground. Brandon actually found the cache as he initially climbed up into the tree to look directly in the hole. You can see how they worked together here:

I thought one of them was going to break an arm or worse really. We finally got the cache out though. The treasure was theirs! We had Vanessa write in the log while I had the kids backup and look through the box one at a time. The rule was they had to add something before they could take something. Some scavenged what some of the others put in. :-)

When all the kids were done, we resealed the cache, put it back, and trekked back to the cars. The kids had a fantastic time. It was amazing to watch them work together, run about, and just be kids. The were very well behaved overall too.



I think the parents are all going to have pnenomia this week though. I really need to start wearing a hat when I go out into cold like this. I was hypothermic when we finally left. I had to take a long hot shower to get warm when I got home. Maybe Steve can recommend a good hat. I did actually just turn 40.