Archive for September, 2009
I saw a lot of the speed limit signs on the highway on my recent trip to Minnesota. I knew that the U.S. doesn’t use the Metric system, as we do here in Canada. But when I first saw the “Speed Limit 55” signs, I had to take a second look. I’m so used to seeing 100 or 120 on the speed limit signs on the highways here in Canada. It took my little brain a couple of seconds to realize that of course, it has to be 55 mph and not 55 kph. When I told Uncle Sparkie about this, I added, “That’s why it took us so long to get here in Minnesota.” And we both had a laugh. 🙂 Well, if you’ve read my previous post, the road trip I took with my mother took a while longer than expected because there was a problem at the U.S./Canada Border with one of the bus passengers.
Then I asked Uncle, “If we use the Metric system in Canada, what do you call your system of measurement here in America?” I remember studying about this in school but I forgot what it’s called.
Uncle answered, “I don’t know, the American system?”
And we both laughed again. 🙂
I don’t remember it being called the American system. I knew it has to be like a standard system, or something close to that.
And of course, I had to know. When I got back home, I googled it. I found out on Wikipedia that it is now called the U.S. customary unit or the American system. So Uncle was right. But this must be something new. I don’t remember it being called like that when I was still in school. And back home in the Philippines, when I was still studying, we also used inches and pounds, instead of centimetres and kilograms. And we had to learn how to convert inches and pounds and miles to the metric units.
Upon further googling, I found this website where it calls it the Standard System of Measurement. So I guess I’m also right.
After Duluth, our next destination was Two Harbors. At first I thought that we were going to two different harbors. But not. Two Harbors is the name of a city in Minnesota. We took the scenic route and we drove along the shore of Lake Superior and I thought that was cool. There I was looking at Lake Superior. I felt bad that the boys were missing this.
Once there, we went to this place, I forgot to ask Uncle what it’s called. It has a hike trail and also a pier and a lighthouse. And we were standing right in front of Lake Superior, the largest of the Five Great Lakes.
That brownish mound there beside the ship is a heap of iron ore pellets, which Uncle said is used to make steel. And doesn’t that ship remind you of the Presque Isle in Duluth?
You can view my Two Harbors album here.
Next we went to Gooseberry Falls. It’s just a short drive from Two Harbors. We continued driving on the highway and we still had a nice view of Lake Superior.
Gooseberry Falls is a state park and it has three waterfalls, The Lower, Middle and Upper Falls. It’s just too bad that the waterfalls have sort of dried up a bit. There was a poster of what it used to look like, when there was more water. It was gorgeous. And Uncle also said that it looks really neat when the water is frozen in the winter. There are hiking trails at the park and there are steps like these so you could make your way to the three different levels of the falls. There are also camping sites in the park, but we didn’t go there to go camping.
After visiting the three falls and noticing that the two grandmas were getting tired, 🙂 we decided to head back home. But first, Uncle brought us to the Black Bear Casino to have supper. And maybe, he said, he’d give me a bit of bad influence – gambling in the casino. 🙂 We first went to the buffet. And lucky for us, Thursday is seafood buffet. We filled our plates with all kinds of seafood including shrimp, scallops, crab, lobster, etc. Yum yum!
After supper, both Uncle and Auntie went to the slot machines. Mama and I just watched Auntie and when we lost her as she looked for her favourite slot machine, Mama sat down in one of the slot machines and won about 20 bucks. But we didn’t really enjoy playing and we were bothered by the smoking, so we just waited in the lounge area. And when Uncle and Auntie were done playing, we headed back to their place. We retired early since we had to get up at three the next morning when we had to go back to Winnipeg.
I know I’ve mentioned a few times how I missed the kids and wished they were with me on this trip. But I had a really good time. I was the kid in this trip. I was with my mother, aunt and uncle. And there were times I felt like a kid. I sometimes caught myself skipping and hopping 🙂 as we went to these places that we visited. But I also remembered that when you are the kid and you are with adults, there are constant reminders. Don’t touch this and don’t touch that. Don’t go there and don’t do that. But I am an adult now, and I know what I’m doing, right? 🙂 Why wouldn’t I watch my steps and take extra care while I shoot those pictures at the water falls, right? Well, anyway, it has been really nice to get away. Looking now at my pictures, I don’t think that I would have posed like that or smiled like that with TH around. So it was really nice to have a break. It was a great stress reliever.
You can view my Gooseberry Falls album here.
My 11-year old son and I went to see the optometrist together a few weeks ago. He was due for his annual exam and I haven’t had an exam in like four to five years. I have been accompanying my kids to these exams since my oldest one was eight, and he’s 19 now. So that has been a long time now. And I already know the drill. The doctor will ask them to read the letters on the eye chart. And then he or she will ask them to look through this instrument that has different sets of lenses to determine the prescription strength.
On this particular visit with my 11-year old son, I let him go first. When he was finished, Dr. Opto asked me to get on the chair. She asked me to read the letters on the wall. At first the letters were big and I had no trouble reading them. As she changed the slides, the letters got smaller and it took me longer to read them. Then she made me look through the different sets of lenses and when I told her which ones gave me the best vision, she wrote down my prescription.
As we were walking out of the room to follow Dr. Opto to the lobby, my son whispered to me, “Mommy, she said letter, not number.”
“I know. Why? What did I say?” I asked him.
“You said two. It was the letter Z.”
“Yeah, I realized that after I read it. Well, it looked like a two to me when I was reading it.”
“Oh, mommy,” he said shaking his head.