Friday, July 11, 2003

Yesterday was a real upload-o-thon, and the end result is three new photo albums on Club Photo. While Mark and I were waiting for our Ride the Ducks tour to begin, we briefly checked out the new Constitution Center. Yes, this is the place that made the headlines on July 4, when the opening ceremony went awry and a large plywood door frame fell to the stage. Fortunately, only minor injuries resulted; it could have been far worse. The company that installed everything for the grand opening admitted that they messed up -- the frame should have been secured to the stage, and it wasn't. The ribbons were supposed to be attached to the frame in a breakaway fashion, but instead they were solidly attached. These errors are the reason that, when all the dignitaries on the stage hauled on the ribbons, instead of creating whatever effect they were SUPPOSED to create, the frame was hauled off-balance and fell.

In any event, we had to pass through metal detectors to get into the Constitution Center. :o( It still gets to me when I see security measures in contexts where I never used to see them before. Part of me hopes I never get used to it. Things in the post-9/11 USA might never be entirely as they were before, but I want to at least remember what it used to be like.

Once we got in, we learned that in order to see the main exhibits in the building, one has to pay admission. We didn't have time for that, since we had tickets for the Ride the Ducks tour, but there were some interesting displays in the lobby area that I thought were worth sharing. Hat Trick, in particular, had a brush with greatness in the gift shop. :o)

The other two new photo albums were created from pictures taken on July 8, which was Mark's actual birthday. In the morning, we headed over to Voorhees for the Flyers Prospects dry-land training. If you're among my fellow hockey-fan friends who are suffering Hockey Withdrawal Syndrome, then by all means check that album out to get a dose of baby hockey players. ;o) The black bands the guys are wearing are heart monitors. With the heat and humidity we have here in the summer, even that early in the morning, it's much better to be safe than sorry. In fact, the Flyers/Phantoms strength and conditioning trainer Jim McCrossin, who was conducting the workout, offered water and gatorade to the couple of dozen fans in the BLEACHERS. He was concerned about our overheating, and we were just sitting in the sun. God bless those boys for actually exercising in this heat.

One kid got leg cramps toward the end of the workout, and the other trainer helped him out. By the time the session was over, he was OK. After the workout, I wanted to ask him how he was doing, but I got a vibe that he'd prefer to forget the whole thing happened. I figured it was best to pretend I didn't notice that the heat had gotten to him.

After the training session, Mark and I headed over to Camden, NJ, across the river from Philadelphia, to visit the Battleship New Jersey. It was a fascinating tour and I'd be glad to recommend it. Hat Trick had a great time, as usual. ;o) If you have a choice of what time of year to do the tour, though, you might want to hold off until the weather is a bit more temperate. Some parts of the battleship do have air conditioning, some have strong fans that do the job pretty well, and some parts of the ship were pretty darn warm when we were there. (The presence of a lot of other tourists, and the resulting addition of body heat, didn't help.)

When the tour was over, Mark and I headed up to his parents' house for a birthday dinner. Both our nieces and two of our nephews were there, and so was our great-niece Angela (Juliet's daughter). Pardon my doting-great-aunt moment, but how sweet is this baby? Not surprisingly, the whole family is head-over-heels in love with Angela. :o)

Well, now that all the news that's fit to print has been written. It's time for me to continue packing and getting last-minute things together for San Diego. We leave for AADB tomorrow morning. I can't believe the trip is finally almost here!

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