9/8/03 - SSSSSnake!!! - Our 3-day weekend for labor day began as planned, driving to Stillwater, OK Friday night after work and going out for supper with Nathan's parents and Jonathan & Kahle.  After hitting a few garage sales Saturday morning, we went to Nathan's 10 year high school reunion and toured the school, which has been mostly remodeled.  We ate lunch with Nate's parents then began our trip to Lawton.  As planned, we met up with Susan's family in OKC and split up.  Susan and Mom went shopping, ate supper, and went back to Lawton.  Nathan went with Dad and Dad's parents to Missouri.  The reasoning for this was that Dad was transporting his parents to Missouri to meet up with one of their other sons, who was to take them to his house in Indiana to stay for a month.  Meanwhile, Nathan and Dad were going to return to OK but have fun geocaching all the way home...for those of you who don't know about geocaching, it is adult treasure hunting using an electronic compass/GPS (see  Well, this is where the plans change.  We had not expected Nathan to fall down in tall vegetation and get bitten by a snake.  At first, they were not sure it was a snake bite, since no snake was seen or heard, but the small punctures above the elbow sure were suspicious.  They got back in the vehicle and headed for home.  Nathan took an anti-histamine and some anti-inflammatory medication and held ice on the arm, but it continued to swell, and he began to feel very sick.  They decided to travel all the way to Lawton and go to the hospital.  He ended up becoming incredibly sick with an extremely swollen arm and staying in the hospital for 48 hours on IV fluids and meds and having blood drawn every 6 hours.  For those of you wondering why they didn't give him anti-venom, it has risks of very severe side effects, and since none of his labwork was ever abnormal (venom can cause clotting problems) and the type of snake was unknown (anti-venom is species specific), it was decided not to be given.  Our fun weekend turned out to be 5 days instead!  As of now, Nathan's arm is completely back to normal and he is feeling great.  


9/16/03 - Mix Rewards - Susan and I enjoyed a variety of different activities last weekend. On Saturday evening, we enjoyed a free showing of “Pulse : A Stomp Odyssey” at the Omni Theatre in the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History. Pulse was a 45-minute movie about percussive music from around the world and featured music from Africa, Japan, America, Spain, Brazil, and India. I received these tickets through a local radio station, Mix 102.9. By answering daily trivia questions and surveys on the radio website, I accumulate points which I can use to buy movie tickets, zoo tickets, merchandise, or other items. It’s a great deal and much easier than trying to call in and be the 9th caller!

One of the other items I have purchased with my Mix Points was a $50 gift certificate to an import store in Dallas. Therefore, on Sunday, Susan and I hopped in the car and drove East to redeem our prize! The store was loaded with hundreds of unique items (most of which were hideous); fortunately, we were able to find four basic hand-crafted plant holders. They will look quite nice on our front and back patios.

While in Dallas, we also took the opportunity to visit some of the local museums. Our first stop was the Dallas World Aquarium. Personally, I feel the word aquarium doesn’t do this museum justice. In addition to a selection of fish from over a dozen tropical regions, the building also houses an enormous tropical rainforest and penguin conservatory. The rainforest is truly breathtaking and filled with dozens of species of mammals, reptiles, avian, and fish. This was by far the best stop on our trip!

The Dallas Museum of Natural History was our second stop of the day. The main attractions were skeletons of several dinosaurs including a tyrannosaurus rex. Other exhibits included a taxidermy collection of wildlife from different areas in Texas. Although the collections and scenery were nicely arranged, neither Susan nor I found much enjoyment in the exhibits at this museum.

Fortunately, our final stop of the day was another nice location. The Texas Discovery Gardens are home to a beautiful variety of local vegetation. Much of the garden is dedicated to flora which attracts insects (mainly butterflies). The garden includes two fountains, a reflection pool, and several nice places to sit in the shade.

- Nathan