Sandy peeks into the van to say goodbye to the ladies while I finish snapping pics of Sandy's home. Let the waterworks begin!
We bought gas, aired up the tires, got some frou-frou coffees, and then left Omaha for Ames, IA for a brief visit with our friends Mary Jo (my former boss) and Lucinda (her daughter). We got there around 10:00 A.M., and immediately the girls were thick as thieves, hugging and talking and playing and getting into their swimming suits. We went to the outdoor swimming pool in Mary Jo and Lucinda's complex, and the girls swam while the adults visited. Later Mary Jo made us a delicious dinner of chili dogs (using a spicy meat recipe that she remembered Suzanna's having really liked), sweet corn on the cob (it was Iowa, after all!), pita chips and hummus (Susan paid close attention to the recipe), and homemade cinnamon ice cream with fresh strawberries and cantaloupe. It was great to see Mary Jo again, and the girls loved the opportunity to reconnect with Lucinda, too. (More waterworks when we had to say goodbye . . .)
Lucinda (on the pink raft) and the girls frolic in the pool.
We told Mary Jo and Lucinda about the girls' recent trip to Build-a-Bear Workshop, and they shared that they had done a similar thing recently, only with dolls. Here are all the ladies with their own creations!
Mary Jo and I (not in that order)
At about 6:00 P.M., we arrived at the Science Museum of Minnesota to see its current Star Wars exhibit. This spring we introduced our girls to the world of Star Wars by watching all six movies with them, so when Susan found out about this exhibit at the Science Museum, she knew it would be a treat for us all. The building itself is incredible: about a decade old, something like six stories (or more? I don't even know), overlooking the Mississippi River, both permanent and termporary exhibits, an IMAX theater, and science-related surprises on every floor, including a staircase that plays music as pedestrians walk up or down it--a different musical note for each tread of the stairs!
We saw a movie on robots (what the robots in the movies can do vs. what today's robots are capable of) and rode a Millennium Falcon simulator (and learned about the reaches of our own universe and the identified universes beyond ours); we built our own robots (teaching us how to let a robot's function determine its construction--inspired by R2-D2) and magnetic levitation trains (teaching us how modern high-speed train engineers use magnetism to propel trains--inspired by the levitation of Luke Skywalker's landspeeder); and we played a game in which we chose robotic enhancements for ourselves (teaching us to consider the possible positive and negative impact of integrating technology into the human body, ranging from pacemakers to memory-enhancing computer chips in the brain--inspired by the part-human, part-machinery character Darth Vader). Perhaps needless to say, there were many photo opps for the photo-happy Mobergs, some of which follow:
Inspired by Luke's landspeeder, this feature gives riders a chance to operate a hovercraft and feel what it's like to travel on a burst of air. Here's Suzanna trying to maneuver around the circular arena. Her face shows that it wasn't easy to negotiate that thing and its rear-blowing fan (which provided the thrust forward).
Faithful readers already know that I am often told that I resemble Ewan McGregor, who plays Obi-Wan Kenobi (thus one of my nicknames: Obi-Wan Kevmobi). Here I pose with my own mimed lightsaber in front of Ewan's Obi-Wan costume.
The museum closed at 11:30 P.M., and we were there to the bitter end, checking out the educational exhibits on health, human anatomy, and dinosaurs. What a great place! We could have spent hours and hours more there had they been willing to stay open for us!
Hillary examined my eyes at this station in the human anatomy exhibit.
Remember the girls' pose with an animatronic triceratops at the Omaha Children's Museum? Here they are with the real McCoy!
We are headed tomorrow to the Wisconsin lake home of Susan's aunt and uncle who live in Mendota Heights, MN. They offered to let us spend tonight at their home in The Cities so that we wouldn't have to drive into the wee hours of the morning, and we happily accepted! First we found our way from the Science Museum to their house, and then we drove around to look for someplace nearby to eat (we still hadn't had supper, and it was nearing midnight). No luck. So we went back to their house, where Susan raided their kitchen and made us tuna melts on bagels and heated vegetable soup for our meal. Gotta get to bed -- it's gonna be another early morning tomorrow!
P.S. Read my sister's version of today!