Archive for October, 2010

There Was A WHAT In The Front Seat?

Posted in Current Events on October 28th, 2010 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Just in time for Halloween, I came across a macabre news story the other day involving a woman whose actions had even veteran police officers scratching their heads.

Woman Drove with Corpse for 10 Months
‘It was very shocking’

COSTA MESA, Calif. (CNN/KTLA) – It’s hard to shock a seasoned police officer, but cops in the Los Angeles area say they were shocked by what they found in a woman’s car this week. They say a woman was driving around for months with a dead mummified body in the front passenger’s seat.

“It was surprising even to myself. I’ve been a police officer for 15 years. To find a mummy in a vehicle, it was very shocking,” said Det. Sgt. Ed Everett.

Police say a corpse was propped up in the passenger seat of a Mercury Marquis for the last ten months. A woman was driving it around town during that time. Apparently, conditions inside the vehicle allowed for mummification.

But how did this happen?

“Initially the driver of the vehicle had indicated that she was unaware that this person was in the vehicle and didn’t indicate that there was anything wrong with the vehicle,” Sgt. Everett explained.

But later, the driver came clean. The 57-year-old woman says she met a homeless woman at a local park and allowed her to sleep in the car. One day, the driver discovered her friend was dead, panicked, and the left the corpse in the passenger’s seat. But she continued to dress the body and drive around with it.

“Due to the condition of the body, the coroner’s office was not able to determine the cause of death. There was no obvious signs of foul play at this point or trauma to the body that we know of,” said Sgt. Everett.

Police have few details on the deceased woman’s identity. The driver only had a first name for the lady and the poor condition of her remains will make identifying her difficult.

First my sympathies to the deceased and her family, and I hope they can identify her and then let her rest in peace.  But how does this happen?   Was the woman lonely?  Afraid of getting into trouble?  Lazy?  Crazy?  Wanted into the carpool lane?  Here’s to hoping she gets the help she needs, whatever that might be.

RIP Oreo

Posted in Pets on October 27th, 2010 and tagged , , , , , , ,

This post is a few weeks in the making – my daughter Sammie’s favorite rat died on October 11.  She took it pretty well; I was dreading having to tell her when she got off the bus that day.  She got off the bus and promptly handed her younger brother and sister each a piece of her candy.  ‘Oh great’, I’m thinking – she gets off the bus and immediately does something really nice for her siblings, and I have to tell her that her favorite rat died.  But I didn’t have to tell her – she asked me first if he had died.  I said yes and asked her how she knew – turns out that big sis had taken it upon herself to tell Sammie on the way to the bus stop that morning.  What are big sisters for?  😉  But like I said, Sammie was ok with it, but now that just leaves us one pet rat: Buckeye.  We began with 2 rats, Bobby Jack and Oreo, and then we took in 2 more from a friend who was unprepared for pets, Mater and Buckeye – 4 rats at once was a bit much, but we didn’t want to see them wind up as snake food, so that gave us 4 pet rats.

Bobby was the first to pass away in June of this year, followed by Mater in August, then Oreo in October – every 2 months we lose a rat, I guess.  That’s the only downside to these otherwise great pets – they only have a lifespan of 1-3 years.  Otherwise, they are like mini dogs: affectionate as can be and very trainable.  My girls love their rats and do very well at feeding them and giving them water every day, cleaning their cage, giving them baths, and taking them for walks.  The rats would always seem depressed when my girls spend their week with Grandma in the summer, and they get really excited when the girls return.  The only thing that keeps ME from getting too close to the rats is my allergy – what a bummer.  I found out I am allergic to rats right after we got them as cute little babies.  I would play with them and wonder why I broke out into hives on my forearms and sneezed like crazy and had itchy eyes for hours afterward.  In a way, it’s a good thing, otherwise I would be more sad than the girls when they  die, and at this rate, we are poised to have to say goodbye to a long line of pet rats!

Last Call For Haunted Houses!!

Posted in holidays on October 27th, 2010 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

This weekend sees the last of the Halloween season of 2010.  I always try my best to do as much Halloween and fall-related things as possible; I just love the season.  This year I’ve been lucky enough to have gotten to try THREE haunted houses, and I will rate them here in case anyone has time to check any of them out.  I would really like to fit in a few more or even a repeat visit to one I’ve already been to, but I have a jam-packed weekend planned with other fun stuff like Halloween parties and Trick-or-Treating.

A few weekends ago, we visited the Chicago area and were able to get to two haunted houses, both in the area where we were staying – Aurora.  We would have liked to check out some other of the MANY haunted houses in the suburbs (as well as other entertainment offerings), but alas, we quickly ran out of time.  So the haunted houses visited were:

BASEMENT OF THE DEAD – 42 W. New York St. Aurora IL 60502 -This is by far the best haunted house that I’ve ever been to.  I’ve been able to visit here 2 years in a row, and it’s gotten better with time.  The makeup on the creatures is incredible – horror movie caliber –  and the characters waiting to scare people waiting in line are great.  They ALWAYS stay in character, which is very important, and they are creative in their scariness – much more than the typical  monster or “BOO!” yelling psychopath.  I tried to get video of the ultra-impressive 7+ foot tall monsters that hang around outside, but Basement of the Dead is located in downtown Aurora, so I had to help my husband navigate around the tricky one-way streets instead.  A MUST SEE for any haunted house enthusiast!  We will probably be making the trip next year, if not just for this haunted house alone; it’s that good!  4!’s for fright out of 4.

MIDNIGHT MASSACRE – 3440 Odyssey Court Naperville IL 60540 – Well, there really isn’t much to say about this lame attempt at a haunted house.  I don’t even think it was made less scary by our visit to Basement of the Dead before this one – it wouldn’t have been any better even if we hadn’t just visited a  spectacular haunted house first.  The scariest thing about Midnight Massacre was the hour and a half we waited in line, which was hidden from view when you buy your tickets.  We got a bad clue when we saw a snack stand in line – you know they won’t want you taking food or drink into their haunted house, so if they let you buy food and drink in line, you know you’re going to have a long wait.  And in this case, a long wait for what?  The haunted house was not scary.  This one did consist of actors (?) yelling cheesy things like “BOO!”  There was a guy dressed like Freddy from Nightmare on Elm Street, and his “scare” was jumping up from a bed and yelling “Freddy!”  We even had one actor apologize to us and say, “Hey, I tried.”  Talk about breaking character!  But in a haunted house as bad as this one, it didn’t really matter that he broke character, that wasn’t the only thing wrong with it.  The first part of if was a black light maze that was so obviously part of a lazer tag course – they didn’t even try to hide it.  But there weren’t any monsters in it or anything.  They had a couple of cool robots and animatronics, especially this one large dinosaur thing, but it was just a head, and they didn’t do anything to cover up the robotic looking body.  And the actors were terrible.  Enough said about this one, not recommended – well, maybe for a kid’s first haunted house.  One ! (for effort Iguess) out of 4!’s

Leader’s Family Farms – near the intersection of Ohio State Route 24 and Henry County Rd. 16 near Napoleon, Ohio – I got to go into this haunted attraction with one of my youth group girls, and she was a screamer.  It was a lot of fun, especially since the ghouls and monsters focused their attention on the screamer and left me alone!  We did not have the time to check out their new haunted attraction, PanDEMONium, but Screamacres was a nice haunted attraction as always.  3! out of 4! – Lots of the same old haunted house effects, but being outside and in the middle of nowhere certainly adds to the effect.  I should also note that Leader’s has activities for the entire family, every age group.  Great fall fun to be had here.

Well, there you have it – those are the 3 I’ve gotten  to this year.  If you have the time and are looking for a good scare, I highly recommend Basement of the Dead in Aurora Illinois or Leader’s Family Farm’s Screamacres in Napoleon Ohio.  I wish I had more time to visit more and get some reviews.  Maybe some day I’ll be able to get down to Columbus Ohio to go to Dead Acres Haunted Hoochie; it looks very scary and really cool!

Anyone else think haunted houses should extend their seasons into November for those of us who are very busy in October taking kids trick or treating and to fall parties, etc??  I sure wish they would!!!  Have a GREAT Halloween!!

Soul Mates

Posted in church, Everyday Life on October 22nd, 2010 and tagged , , , ,

I just love it when our pastor’s sermons speak to me, which is actually quite often as he is a powerful speaker.  A few weeks ago, he was speaking of the relationship between Paul and Timothy, and the discussion that followed was of kindred spirits and soul mates.

This sermon made me think of my husband – we’ve always known we were made for each other.  And that leads to a funny story: just a few days before we heard this sermon in church, I was at the library looking for a movie to pick out for Hubby and I to watch that night.  My eyes fell upon UHF, a goofy late 80s comedy starring Weird Al Yankovic.  I  thought to myself, “He won’t want to watch that.” and I passed it up.  Later that night as we were picking a movie to watch, my husband says, “I feel like watching UHF, but we don’t have it.”  I could not stop laughing as I told him about how I thought of him in the library that day, and we had a good laugh together.  He had seen UHF years ago but not since and never with me (I had never seen it).  It’s not like it was one of his favorite movies or one he often felt like watching, and we had probably never even discussed it together.  Yet of all the movies just to randomly pop into our heads that day, we shared a random thought that was UHF.  🙂

Love You Honey

Cute Things From Kids

Posted in Kids on October 21st, 2010 and tagged , ,

I get all these email forwards quoting kids and the cute things they say.  With 4 kids of my own (ages 10, 6, 4, and 2), I have fodder almost daily for such emails.  If only I could remember to write down all the cute things they say…

Here are a few that have stuck in my mind from recent months:

end of april 2010:
5-year-old Sammie –  We’re in the drive-thru at the ice cream place, and we ask Sammie what she would like.  She says “I don’t know; I think I have gastritis.”

seperate incident:
3-year-old Disney – “Does Santa work at the gas station”

10-13-10 – Disney (a week before her 4th birthday) holds up the snow brush that was in the garage. “Mom, why did you pack a giant toothbrush?”
I’m still smiling about that one!

Fun At School

Posted in church, Kids on October 18th, 2010 and tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Some random kid-related stuff to report…

First, my “visitor”  showed up to my Sunday morning class.  I haven’t had the time to blog about it, but basically there is a parent who came to drop her daughter off a few weeks ago at the worst time possible, and the kids were all over the place (it’s not normally like that, a set of circumstances culminated to create the ‘perfect storm’ – long story).  On top of that, her daughter is a 1st grader, which means that she has just come over to the north campus of church.  Our first graders “graduate” from the preschool wing and move over to the other building when they get in 1st grade, and their curriculum changes.  So this parent had concerns about what her daughter was learning and specifically where her weekly “coloring page” was.  So she asked if she could come “observe” my class, and I was all upset and nervous.  I sat and pondered this, I prayed about it, and I decided to give it my best shot and show this mother what a wonderful childrens’ ministry we have.  I wasn’t even  nervous, and I used the entire ride home from Illinois planning out my lesson for class the next day.  And what happens?  She is a no-show.  Fast forward to the next week, which was in reality this past Sunday, and she shows up.  Luckily I had kind of figured this would happen, so I was well-prepared again.  But I also  had 9 kids to look after – of course she couldn’t come observe when I had 4 kids last week when games and lessons are much easier…  But I think it went well!  I can’t speak for the “observer”, but the class ran as smoothly as it could have with 9 kids running around.  She wasn’t just a statue standing in the corner making me nervous during class, but an active participant (after some encouragement by me) in the crafts and games.  It is my hope that she came away from experiencing her daughter’s Sunday school knowing that our childrens’ ministry program at church is wonderful!  We have so many components (there is music, dancing, skits, big group games, small group games, story-telling and crafts – all in one hour every week!)  and super volunteers who bring it all together which provides a variety of ways for kids to learn one lesson and virtue.  I am so proud of how well my 1st graders are picking up on this month’s virtue, which is “initiative”.  I know, a huge word for such small kids, but the lessons are broken down and relate to kids so well that they really are getting it – especially my 1st grader at home, which really surprises me!!  So anyway, I just wanted to express my relief about how I don’t have to worry about my “visitor” anymore.  At first I was terribly upset, but after a lot of thinking and praying, it all worked out for the better!  I was able to step back and take a look at our childrens’ ministry and appreciate it even more when it was under scrutiny, so I am very thankful to God for opening my eyes and getting me through this.

Next bit of kid news – last week was National Eat Lunch at School week, so  us parents were invited to eat with the littles.  My husband and I folded ourselves into the kiddie-sized lunch tables and visited with the 1st graders.  One problem I didn’t see coming though – we brought little brother (he is 2), so of course he starts running around the lunchroom, but…  Mom and Dad were so crammed into the little lunch tables that we could not get up to chase him unless someone else got up first – we were packed in like sardines!  Finally we were able to get out and get him before he caused too much trouble, and we had a great time for the remainder of the lunch.  I think Sammie really enjoyed haaving her family at lunch.  Here are my 3 youngest at ‘big kid’ first grade lunch:

And at recess it was so neat to see some of my 1st graders from Sunday morning childrens’ ministry!!

So after lunch in 1st grade, it was time to head to the fire station for a field trip with my preschool-age daughter and her class.  I brought my 2-year-old along to this also because I thought he would enjoy it, and he did, even if it was a challenge trying to get him to hold still while the fireman was talking.  But as soon as the fire gear came out and the fireman began to put on his boots, gloves, hood, hat, etc, my son was very attentive.  After that, each of the kids got a turn “driving” the fire truck!  My son made his way up to the front of the group and reached his arms toward the fireman – it was really neat to see because a few of the pre-schoolers, one being my daughter, were nervous about being lifted up by the firefighter and into the big fire truck.  But once they saw the little dude have a turn and how much he loved it, they were all eager to try too!

So overall a great week!  October is always so busy for our family, but I enjoy every minute of it!!

EVEN BETTER THAN I IMAGINED!!! (part 2)

Posted in animals on October 17th, 2010 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

(This is a continuation of my previous post of the same title which can be found here in case you missed it.)

(This is us with Jack Hanna!  In case you don’t know who he is,  I included a brief description of him in my previous blog post about the show!)

Before we went into the theater to see Jack Hanna’s live stage show, we were just standing there gawking at Jack Hanna signing autographs.  Suddenly, a group of young people came up to him, and he was so thrilled to see them that he quickly grabbed his cell phone and called his wife backstage, telling her that their ‘special friends’ would be coming backstage to see her.  The friends are then ushered away, and Jack announced during the show that they are the Von Trapp Children, a singing quartet of descendants from the family who inspired the infamous memoir, stage musical, and movie The Sound of Music.  Apparently they had been in the Chicago area to tape an episode of Oprah (which will air on October 29), and they’re family friends of Jack’s and stopped by his show to surprise him.

(Me waiting patiently while Jack signs just one of my many books that I brought!!)

Back to the show…  we are seated in the Paramount, and Jack Hanna comes out!!  The show itself was a mix of live animals being brought out on the stage and video clips shown on a large screen, all narrated by Jack with his trademark anecdotes and sense of humor.  In fact, at one point near the beginning of show, Jack Hanna began to tell a story, and all of a sudden he stops and looks off to the wings of the stage.  “Do I have time to tell this story?”  He asked  (presumably the producer backstage), but then he didn’t wait for an answer and replied to himself: “Of course I have time to tell it – it’s my show!”  It was not said in an arrogant fashion, but rather it seemed as if he were almost reminding himself that he is in charge.  It was glimpses of genuineness like this that made his show so special.  Jack Hanna is very real and down-to-earth (when it comes to being a celebrity anyway – often he is dreaming about ways to help animals with his head on  the clouds!), and these traits take precedent in his live appearances.

So the story he told was hilarious!  It was about his appearance on “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader”, and…  well, you can listen to it if you’d like:

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So between video clips of a few animal causes that are near and dear to Jack Hanna’s heart (Rolling Dog Ranch and  Mountain Gorilla Conservation, among others), the following live animals were brought out on the stage for Jack to tell us about: a Red-Ruffed Lemur, blind Barn Owl, Flamingo, 2-Toed Sloth (did you know that there is a bed and breakfast in South America where you get to take care of a baby sloth in your room overnight?  I just might get over this fear of flying thing quicker than I thought I would!!), 3-Banded Armadillo, Siberian Lynx, baby Coatamundi, baby Bennet’s Wallaby (got to meet him earlier at the Jamboree Lunch), Grey fox, Fennec Fox (got to meet him at lunch also), Lesser Anteater, an albino Python, and the finale – a full grown Cheetah!  Seeing the animals was great of course, and hearing live ‘Jack facts’ about them was even better.  But I think my favorite part of the show was the end – we watched a blooper reel of Jack getting licked, bitten, squirted, tossed around, etc. by animals, and one clip was of Jack Hanna making an appearance on David Letterman’s show in the ’80s.  Jack is showing Dave how to milk a goat, and as usual, Dave is cracking jokes.  Jack Hanna (the live version) cuts in, saying, “I didn’t even mean to do this!” and the video clip shows him accidentally squirting Letterman with a spray of milk from the goat’s udder!  There is only one more thing that can make watching Jack Hanna on Letterman even  more entertaining, and that is watching Jack Hanna on Letterman WITH Jack Hanna while he narrates it!!

We laughed (plenty of laughs when Jack and animals are involved!), we cried (that video clip of the Rolling Dog ranch was so heartwarming – the ranch takes dogs who are seriously ill, and many of them have extreme physical ailments), and then it was time to go.  But not before we got to hear Jack’s bear spray story again, and he even called on one of his assistants to act it out.  He told this story during his previous appearance on Letterman, and it was hilarious then as it was hearing it and seeing it live.  Funny, that is, until we found out during the live show what really happened during that previous Letterman appearance.  Apparently it wasn’t demonstration-style bear spray, but the real thing, and Jack got sprayed in the face, causing loss of vision for over 10 minutes and some minor facial burns.  Jack warned us (and David Letterman!) that he is planning revenge for his next appearance on the show in December, so stay tuned!!!

A sloth relaxing at a sloth sanctuary in Costa Rica.  While we were on the subject of sloths, this picture was too cute to pass up!!

Classic Sherlock Holmes Tale Told

Posted in Theater on October 14th, 2010 and tagged , , , , , , , ,

Last weekend, we drove some 200 miles on Friday night, which culminated in rush hour in Chicagoland.  Saturday was go-go-go, but no complaints here since we got to see Jack Hanna’s stage show, something I have been waiting over a decade to see!  After a (much too) short visit with family, we were on the road again late Saturday night, and traveled the 200+ miles back home again, arriving about 2am.  We got up early for church, and with my blurry tired eyes, I carefully went over my lesson plan for my 1st grade Sunday school class since I was anticipating a special guest.  I’m happy to report that my class went off without a hitch, so thank God for answering my prayers – after leaving it in God’s hands, I was not even nervous about it, which speaks volumes if you know me and my ability to let my nervousness get to me!!

So needless to say, by Sunday  night, I was wiped.  But I had been asked by some friends to attend the special press night of their stage play, the Sherlock Holmes mystery The Hound of the Baskervilles to write a review for our local paper.  I happily obliged, especially because seeing the show on this particular night helped our finding-a-babysitter situation.  I didn’t know how I would like a Sherlock Holmes stage play as I had never found the books entertaining.  But I was entertained by the show, so I decided to put my review on my blog since some of my readers won’t be able to see it in the paper.  Note that each actor brought something unique to the show, but I was unable to include rambling accounts of each individual performance due to spacial limitations.  If you are anywhere near Hicksville Ohio this weekend, I hope the following review will make you want to stop by the Huber Opera House to enjoy a great autumn mystery on stage!

From the Bryan Times – Thursday, October 14, 2010:

HICKSVILLE – While the leaves fall outside, an early darkened evening or a chilly autumn afternoon spent taking in a live stage play is especially enjoyable while viewing a chilling mystery.

This weekend, the historic Huber Opera House in Hicksville comes alive with a classic Sherlock Holmes whodunit, The Hound of the Baskervilles. Join the Hicksville Village Players this weekend as Holmes, Watson, and other curious characters guide you through the tale of the hound that haunts the halls of the Baskervilles. Intended for the audience to piece together, the show is a puzzle whose clues are carefully and individually laid out by the intriguing cast of characters.

Sherlock Holmes, the know-it-all yet admirable mystery-solver is extraordinarily portrayed by Bill Murphy. The audience is held captive while Holmes connects clues between puffs of his pipe. Nicely complementing Murphy’s natural Holmes as the ever-faithful, always reliable assistant Watson is Travis Heffelfinger of Hicksville. Heffelfinger’s Watson is dependable and sharp-witted, and he is observant enough to attain the job of Holmes’ eyes and ears while protecting their client, Henry Baskerville. John Robinson of Bryan portrays Henry, a man who is fearful for his safety while he remains inquisitive as he tries to deduce who – or what – might have murdered his uncle. Providing clues and distractions alike for the famed detective are Dr. James Mortimer (Corey Fowler) and Beryl Stapleton (Lindsay Clem).

Once the investigation carries Holmes and the audience away from Baker Street and into the isolated countryside, strange stories are spun of murder, mayhem, thievery, and betrayal. Around the mysterious moor, the secrets begin to spill, and it becomes apparent that the odd collection of characters might not be as they appear. The audience joins Holmes as he tries to figure out if either the peculiar Mr. Stapleton (compellingly played by John Overberg of Montpelier) or the lady-like Laura Lyons (depicted elegantly by Courtney Widdifield) can be trusted. Can Holmes’ client, Henry Baskerville, presume that the keepers of Baskerville Hall, The Barrymores (persuasively illustrated by Jamy Shaffer of Edgerton and Amber Garza of Antwerp) are truthful witnesses? Why, “It’s elementary, my dear Watson!”

In the atmosphere of the historic Huber Opera House, the wonderfully directed The Hound of the Baskervilles will transport you back to 19th century London and directly to Baker Street with Sherlock Holmes himself. The curtain opens Friday and Saturday nights, October 15 and 16 at 7:30pm and on Saturday and Sunday afternoons at 2:30pm on October 16 and 17.

EVEN BETTER THAN I IMAGINED!!!

Posted in animals on October 13th, 2010 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

We are back from Illinois; actually we got back a few days ago, but things here have been so non-stop that I’m not even unpacked from the weekend trip yet – working on that this week.  But I had to take a break and write about the super fun Jack Hanna show that we were able to see while in Illinois – after all my anticipating, it was somehow even better than I had imagined!!!

We were the first ones to arrive at Aurora’s Paramount Theater (a lovely old-fashioned theater with beautiful architecture – in fact, it was chosen  to be the setting for a few scenes of the Johnny Depp movie about the mobster John Dillinger called Public Enemies that was recently released), so we opted to stand in line rather than wait at the bar.  This way, we were first upstairs for our “Jamboree Lunch” and got first pick of our seats.  Seeing as how there were only two ways that Jack could get up to the second floor – stairs or elevator – we chose the table nearest both entrances.  We went to go pick up our lunch – peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, cookies, fruit snacks, and chips situated in a safari hat – and came back to our table which had a bunch of little animal toys on it: lion rulers, a finger puppet zebra, coloring pages, and a parachuting tiger (oh how tempting it was to let him loose over the railing to sail down into the lobby… but Jack was due to arrive, so we were on our best behavior).  Once we saw that all of the kids at the event were going to be seated elsewhere, I scooped up all of the jungle paraphernalia and put it in my purse.  We put on our safari hats and ate our PB & J – did I mention that this event was designed for kids?  Had we known before we got there, we would have brought our kids, but it wasn’t very well organized and so we didn’t really realize it until we got there – oh well.  All was forgotten once Jack Hanna arrived!!  If you don’t know who Jack  Hanna is, here is a brief synopsis:  Jack Hanna is an animal guy, and he was the director of the now world famous Columbus Zoo from 1978-1992.  In that time, he put that zoo on the map; it went from being a place that even locals didn’t know existed to a world renowned animal facility, and attendance at the zoo increased by 400%!  He now travels the world visiting endangered species, zoos, and making live show and tv show appearances (his monthly appearances on David Letterman’s show are always entertaining!!), all in the name of bringing awareness to wildlife conservation.

So anyway, at the Jungle Jamboree lunch, Jack goes from table to table (preceded by a woman carrying a baby wallaby in a pouch and a man with a fox), and he comes to our table first!!  He had limited time at each table of course, but he autographed a little picture of himself, and we did have time to tell him how we saw him at Sea World on our honeymoon in 1999.  He asked if we liked animals, and my response went something like this: “Duh, huh huh huh”.  As much as I had been thinking about what to say to Jack, it happened to me again.  When I finally met him, I was dumbfounded and couldn’t think about the most important things to talk about in such a little time.  No matter; we would be meeting him AGAIN later that same day!!

So after that, we went back downstairs to the merchandise table, and Hubby bought me Jack’s new book (My Wild Life – it’s kind of a re-write / update to my favorite book, Monkeys on the Interstate.  But I didn’t have this new book yet, and needless to say now that I have it, my reading of the Harry Potter series has taken a backseat!), and we waited for Jack to finish at the lunch tables upstairs.  He came downstairs, there was just a few minutes wait, and then we met him AGAIN and he signed my new book, plus ALL of the books of his that I had brought along – and I had a huge purse full.  We explained to him that he is our favorite celebrity (“Oh, I’m not a celebrity!”  he said.), and the nice guy behind us took this picture (note that Hubby still has on his safari hat!):

Not sure what to do with ourselves after our autograph session, we were SO tempted to get back in line.  After all, Jack  Hanna, our favorite celebrity animal conservation personality was sitting within 10 feet of us!  But we wanted to give other people a chance to meet him, and I’m glad we chose to just stand there and gawk at him from the sidelines for 25 minutes rather than getting back in line – turns out that some people didn’t get a chance to get his autograph since he was whisked away to get ready for the stage show.  It just wouldn’t have been fair for us to be in the line twice.  He announced later that people who didn’t get a chance to get his autograph could just email his website and an autographed pic would be sent out.  No offense, Jack, but that’s just not the same as meeting you in person!  I am SO thankful that we got to meet him, and he is even more humble and down-to-earth than he seems on tv!!

Well, this blog post got lengthy, and I haven’t even talked about the stage show yet, so I think I will cut this into multiple posts as my little guy is finished with his ‘quiet time’.  Unfortunately for me (and my ever-growing list of housework), my 2-year-old has outgrown his naps so I don’t have nearly as much free time during the day as I need to get everything done.  So you’ll have to wait until my next post (or two or three) to read about the actual Jack Hanna stage show (best show I’ve EVER seen!!!) and the other stuff we crammed into our jam-packed super-fun Illinois weekend.  Until then…

Jack Hanna!!!

Posted in animals on October 7th, 2010 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

While my girls are counting down the days until they get to go to their Grandma’s house, I am counting the days until I get to see a LIVE JACK HANNA SHOW!!!  Don’t get me wrong, I’m really excited to see family too, but I’ve been waiting to see a live Jack Hanna show for over a decade!!!

I’ve had the show tickets in the car for about two weeks now, since I was so sure that I’d forget them.  I’ve already packed my glasses too, so I can actually see Jack and the animals from my seat.  And I’ve been “cramming” all week – trying to quickly re-read my favorite book, Jack Hanna’s Monkeys on the Interstate.  If all goes well, I should be finished with it by Saturday when I see Jack.  Because we have tickets for a pre-show event called a Jamboree Lunch, I’m hoping for maybe an autograph or even an opportunity to chat with Mr. Hanna!  I know it’s a shot in the dark, but I’ve made a mental list of things I’d bring up just in case; many of them are from the Monkeys book.  Even if I don’t get an opportunity to talk to Mr. Hanna, I am ecstatic just to be able to see his show!!!  I really enjoy his appearances on Letterman every month, and I’m beyond excited to see Mr. Hanna live!!  Just in case, I’m bringing an array of my Hanna collection in case I get a chance to seek an autograph, but I’m not expecting it or anything – don’t want to be disappointed.  It would be nice, however, to replace our autographed Jack Hanna honeymoon memento.  Now I have to tell that story…

When my husband and I took our honeymoon to Florida in 1999, we were driving from where we lived in Illinois to Florida (which is a very LONG drive…  but for some reason, I cannot remember exactly what it was like to do that WITHOUT KIDS along…), and we were talking about all the things we would do.  One of the things that came up  was celebrities we would like to run into, and Jack Hanna was the only one we both decided we would really care about running into.  Once in Florida, we visited Sea World, and we were going to go into the underwater viewing area for  the dolphins, but it was roped off – “TV show taping in progress”.  Just before we turned away to head to something else, a worker lifted the ropes, so in we went, and the crew was packing up the cameras, and THERE WAS JACK HANNA!!!  And we were all alone since the area had just been closed off – no mob of fans to compete with.  Ok, so maybe Jack  Hanna isn’t the type of celebrity to have fans mobbing him wherever he goes, but to me, he is an animal hero.  His Monkeys on the Interstate book chronicles his creativity, his strength through adversity, and his triumphs (and failures!) he went through as he was building the once unheard of Columbus Zoo into the world famous, state-of-the-art zoo facility it is today – a fascinating read for anyone who loves animals, zoos, Jack Hanna, or who just likes funny stories!!  Jack Hanna is a marketing and animal genius!  But I digress – back to my story…

So we got to meet Jack Hanna, right there at Sea World.  I was not expecting it, so I gummed up and let my husband do the talking, and Jack whipped out an 8×10 glossy picture and autographed it, putting our names on it and everything.  Unfortunately, this picture was one of a few irreplaceable items that were entrusted to so-called “friends” during a move we had, never to be seen again…  but that’s another story and nothing I want to dwell upon now.

So yeah, IF I actually get to talk to Jack again this time, I have my list of things I want to talk about…  though it’s quite lengthy, and my brain will be swimming with basically EVERYTHING from the Monkeys on the Interstate book, as well as things I want to know about starting my own zoo – hey, that shouldn’t come as a big surprise to any of my readers, so lift your dropped jaw.  Those of you who know me realize that I have a pretty good start on one already, don’t you?  🙂

This is Jack at one of his Letterman appearances.  Each of his appearances on Letterman has moments of hilarity as Jack tries so hard to get in his animal facts while Letterman is busy making jokes and heckling him.  After decades of monthly appearances, the two have built a relationship of sorts, and Jack now brings animals that sometimes shock, awe, and even scare Letterman!!  Never a dull moment when Jack’s around…