Well it looks like once again I am shirking my writing duties. To catch up, I did pass the class that was slowly driving me insane. That means I get my financial aid turned back on, and I get reimbursed for the money I forked out for this next quarter. I haven’t bought my books yet. I might try to find them cheaper on-line. The new quarter doesn’t begin for a week and a half, so I should get them in time.

I finally got the brace that’s supposed to help my belly repair itself. It looks like a funky version of one of those stretchy back support belts the guys at the hardware store wear. It’s kind of uncomfortable, but everyone says it takes a couple of days to get used to it. I get to wear it for the next six months, along with some pretty kinky looking sit-ups to strengthen my abdominal muscles. I hope it works, because I’m tired of looking like I have a huge pot belly after losing sixty pounds.

After this last class, my stress levels have been at a record high, and I don’t like it. It’s been hard on my body in more ways than one, so I began looking for ways to calm myself down. I did some reading on different types of meditation which have been proven to do a lot of things like reduce stress which in turn can help with sleep, weight loss, and concentration. These are things I need in my life. I’ve been trying to do it once or twice a day for the past week, and I do seem to be a little more relaxed. Who knows, it may keep me from losing my mind.

This last Saturday, I went with my brother and his family to the World Forestry Museum, and Discovery Center. The day got off to a shaky start, because it was the first decent weather in weeks, so EVERYONE was out. This center is right next to the Children’s Discovery Museum, and the Zoo, so the parking situation sucked. After driving around the lot for fifteen minutes or so we found someone who was backing out so we stopped. As soon as the car backed out, the car behind us darted around our car and took the spot. The car was being driven by two teenage girls who obviously didn’t understand the concept of parking lots. I couldn’t believe my brother just drove away? I was PISSED! If I were driving, those girls would have been crying as they backed out of the spot I had been waiting for, so I could park there. We ended up driving around for another ten minutes before we finally found a spot. All the time this is happening, Carson is getting cranky, and telling my brother over and over how he didn’t want to park here, and how he didn’t want to walk anywhere, and generally being a turd. It’s a good thing we found a spot, because I was about ready to climb out a window.

When we finally got in the museum, it was pretty cool. It’s funded by the forestry service, so most of it is about conservation, and logging, but it also had some cool stuff about wood products from around the world, as well as a bat exhibit. They had some full-sized trees inside so people could see how they fit in the ecosystem. There is a two seat bench that can be lifted by a cable system all the way to the top of the large redwood that is standing in the lobby, and I got to ride it up and down with both of my nephews. Hayden had a blast, but he lost his Spiderman boot half way up. Good thing no one was under us. Carson was all amped up to ride it too, but he started to freak out about half way up, but I was able to calm him down, and he ended up enjoying the rest of the ride. They strap you up in a climbing harness, so there was no danger of falling out, but it did go up about 100 feet. Carson is only four and a half, so it must have looked more like ten times that height to him.

“These are my nephews posing in front of the bat exhibit sign. The exhibit was actually pretty cool.”

“Looking down at the lobby from the second floor of the museum.”

“This was a cool truck you got to sit in while they played a movie about forest conservation. I wanted to drive it home.”

After we left the museum, we walked around the grounds, because there were all kinds of tree planted in a park setting with name tags on them so you can tell what they all are. There was also a Vietnam Veteran Memorial that wound around through the trees that we didn’t know about until we walked along the path. It was broken up into years, so each section was labeled with the names of fallen vets from the Portland area that died that year. I would have liked to have spent more time there, but the kids were getting antsy. They were getting hungry, and were too young to understand what the monument was, so we left to get some dinner.

“This is the memorial area, and park”

Dinner was at Billygan’s which is one of those burger/steak places that serve bowls of peanuts to munch on while you wait for your food. The kids love the place, because you just toss the peanut shells on the floor. I’m not sure if they like the food, or the chance to throw peanut shells on the floor. I’m guessing it’s the peanuts. I ended up having a 32.oz beer with my burger, and realized I have become a cheap date since leaving California. I used to be able to put away about a dozen drinks in one sitting, but this one almost put me to sleep. I was exhausted by the time we all got home. My nephews wanted me to stay and play “Legos” with them, but I had to pass. I think I fell asleep as soon as I got home.

“Carson chomping on a peanut.”

“Hayden testing the hot chocolate.”

I haven’t gone anywhere like that in a while. It was pretty fun, and I need to get out to do more things like it. We will see.