Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Days Are Just Packed: Pawtuckaway, Wizard of Oz, and Aunt's Day

 I got to spend time with my family over Mother's Day weekend, which was just wonderful.

Saturday was gloriously sunny, and my parents and I decided to return to Pawtuckaway State Park for a bit of a mosey on the way to see my elder niece appear in the Wizard of Oz.

Unfortunately, what with the late start and some minor navigational snafus, we didn't quite reach the Boulder Field this time before we had to head back.

We spotted one wild animal this time:

A beautiful striped and checkered snake

A sylvan scene 
This is the pond we mistook for Dead Pond last time.  I don't think it's Round Pond either.  

The boulder crack'd

We got to the performance hall just as the show was about to begin; luckily we knew one of the performers, and her sponsors very kindly reserved seats for us right up front.

Auntie Em, despite her youthful appearance, was an excellent actress who channeled just the right note in her interactions with Dorothy.  (She has clearly been paying attention to the way grown-ups talk... Maybe we should be more careful!)

Auntie Em and Uncle Henry

The tornado hits

Toto was the narrator and very nearly star of the show

The lollipop guild in striped shirts and yellow baseball hats; they were very convincing munchkins!

The Mayor in red tux and her blue-tux'ed escorts (perhaps the City Council?)

A grove of apple trees, who will soon be tricked by the scarecrow into giving up their apples

A non-lion, non-tiger, and non-bear.  Oh my!

The production was very fun overall, with lots of excellent performances.  We didn't see a lot of the Wicked Witch of the West, but she was really having a blast with that role, and she gave us the best live  performance of melting away that I've ever seen.  (Accomplished with creative use of the performance space, rather than any high-tech wizardry or special effects.)  

The older kids presented flowers to the director and other grown-ups involved with the production afterward.  

All's well that ends well!

Afterward, a few of us went to Otter Pond (which is bursting with bullfrog tadpoles just now, as well as crayfish and the occasional salamander) and then for a short stroll through the woods to build up an appetite for the  cookout (featuring exquisitely grilled chicken, a really tasty salad, and cheesecake - yum!).

My nieces also presented hand-made cards to all the female relatives who were in town for Mother's Day.  The visiting mothers included two grandmothers and an aunt, as well as their own mom.  So this was already a lot of work!  But they also (perhaps at Ruth's suggestion) decided to include me, which was very, very sweet of them.  So to my tremendous surprise and delight, I received one card wishing me a Happy Aunt's Day, and another wishing me a Happy LLS Day.  Swoon!  ♥♥♥

It was lovely to spend some time with my parents as well.  They are so good to me!  My mom made waffles and biscuits for breakfast, which I never have in NYC.  I gave my mom some fancy-schmancy olive oil I'd heard about on Splendid Table, which (fortunately) seems to be every bit as good as it was cracked up to be.

On the way home, I started my final exam.  I had a choice of answering either of the two randomly assigned questions (out of an original set of seven questions we were given in advance).  As it turns out, they gave me a choice between my favorite hoped-for question and my least favorite and slightly dreaded question.  So the choice was easy!  I had 24 hours to complete the exam, but turned in my 1,500-word essay just 14 hours later.  The hardest part was paring it down to 1500 words... I had to cut out a lot, and move a bunch of cool stuff into the endnotes.  Oh well.  I suppose that's a good problem to have!

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