Thursday, August 03, 2006

Happy Birthday to me

Today is/was my birthday. As noted on my bio page, dolphins have been my favorite animal ever since I read Madeleine L'Engle's novel A Ring of Endless Light at age 13. I've seen plenty at places like Sea World, but hadn't ever seen one in the wild. Now that I live 20 minutes from a bay that's home to about 145 dolphins, I decided I'd like to see some for my birthday. So my husband took off work today, and we all went on a 2-hour dolphin watch cruise. The first hour was great...we were lucky enough to see a group of 3 dolphins, which apparently included a mother and baby, and they were close enough to see for at least 15 minutes. It was nearly impossible to get photos of them, especially with my slow camera, but here's one fuzzy shot. The water here is too shallow (4 to 6 feet!) for them to do leaps like they might in the open ocean.

It was, however, very HOT. It hasn't been as hot here as it apparently has been in the rest of the country--never seems to break 100, anyway--but it's very humid. It was 97 degrees with 65% humidity, and standing out on the open deck watching the dolphins for a while really got to me. I had to go down to the lower deck, which was mostly enclosed and at least had a fan, and I sat there nearly doubled over for 35 or 40 minutes trying not to pass out or get sick! The boat was very stable and there weren't many waves, but I guess I was just hot and dehydrated (and pregnant!). I think I missed another dolphin sighting during that time, but I didn't care. But after I rested a while and had 2 cups of water, I felt okay again. A shorter cruise would have been much better for us (the kids were bored by the end), but I guess they make them that long to increase the chances of spotting dolphins.

Because of the timing of the boat ride, my birthday meal plans got changed...we didn't feel like driving an hour away when it was already 1:00 and we hadn't eaten. I decided on Bennigan's, an odd choice because I've only eaten there maybe once in the past 10 years, but I decadently got both a steak and a bowl of French Onion soup! And luckily, they were so slow bringing the soup that they gave it to me for free! My 5-year-old spilled two drinks there after already spilling one on the boat...but we had a nice lunch. (Note: And my 7-year-old just dropped a drink in the kitchen as I was writing this!)

Later in the afternoon, we had a mini-party at home. I'd had absolutely no luck finding a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting at the local grocery stores a few weeks ago, after trying 7 stores, and that's what I wanted so I suggested to my husband that he try a local Amish restaurant that we knew served good chocolate cake. He ordered a cake from them, and when he went to pick it up yesterday, it was crazily lumpy. They felt so bad about it they offered to sell it to him for nearly half price, or to make a better one for today. He chose the discount cake, which is good because the regular price was too high! Today, it was even lumpier. But it tasted really good anyway! My presents included a "mask" drawn by my 5-year-old, and a 3D house made out of paper by my 7-year-old (with help from his dad), complete with a cute mail slot, tiny fake mail, and a bucket inside to catch it in! Oh yeah, and Oil of Olay from my mom! Talk about gifts that make one feel old... she also sent me an 80s compilation CD, which manages to take me back to my youth and make me feel old at the same time. ;-) She also sent along a foam tiara!

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