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Family valued 2.9.05

Slave to the wave

What's the deal with snow tubing? In my day, we used wooden sleds or maybe silver saucers if our parents were really progressive. But a tube? What if it leads to hard-core winter sports?

            Thankfully, snow tubing at Polar Wave in Batavia is so much fun, your kid won't need a new thrill anytime soon. Preschoolers ride with adult co-captains. School-aged kids pilot individual tubes. Teens command large tandem tubes which hook together to form flotillas. It's enough to make Admiral Nelson squeal with delight.

            Parents like Polar Wave, too. Employees carefully fasten towropes onto the tubes at the bottom of the hill and manage hilltop traffic. The six-run hill is exhilarating, but doesn't scream "potential brain damage." Plus, there's a TV in the snack bar so you can catch up on important world events, like basketball games and soap operas.

            At $11.99 for two hours or $13.99 for three, it's reasonably priced fun. Kids 42 inches and under ride for $4 off these prices. Buy tickets at Wegmans and save $1.

            Polar Wave is open Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sundays from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Ride February 21 through 25, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., other weekdays by reservation only. For info visit www.polarwavesnowtubing.com or call 888-727-2794.

            Make your kid appreciate Polar Wave's towropes with some preliminary sledding at local parks. Ellison is a convenient option. Northampton in Ogden is a great choice, too with its wide slope. Visit www.monroecounty.gov or call 256-4950.

--- Linda Kostin (www.junkstorecowgirl.com)

This week for families:

African American Scavenger Hunt Mon-Sat, Feb 14-19.Wheatley Library Branch, 33 Dr. Samuel McCree Way. 428-8212

Brighton Memorial Library Stories for pre-K: Mondays 10 a.m.; for toddlers: Mondays 10:30 a.m.; for families: Thursdays 7 p.m. | Through Feb 25: Alice B. Wilson Literary Awards Contest, for Brighton residents grades 6-12. | 2300 Elmwood Ave, 784-5300

Clifford's Valentine's Day Party Mon, Feb 14.StrongMuseum, 1 Manhattan Sq, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. $7, $5 kids. 263-2700, www.strongmuseum.org

Henrietta Public Library Stories for preschoolers: Wed, Feb 9, 10:15-10:45 a.m. and Tues, Feb 15, 11-11:30 a.m. | Afterschoolstorytime: Thurs, Feb 10, grades K-3, 4-4:45 p.m. | 455 Calkins Rd. 359-7092, www.hpl.org

Interrupting VanessaSat-Sun, through Feb 20. Big Theatre for Little People, recommended ages 5-12, Geva Theatre, 75 Woodbury Blvd, Sat 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., Sun 1 and 4 p.m. $9-$12. 232-4382, www.gevatheatre.org

Jungle Jog T-Shirt Design Contest through Feb 28. For kids up to 12 years old, theme: black bears. Mail to SenecaPark Zoo, 2222 St Paul St, Rochester, 14621. www.senecaparkzoo.org, 336-7213

Make Worlds From Words Sun, Feb 13. Storytelling, Jay Stetzer, SchweinfurthMemorialArtCenter, 205 Genesee St, Auburn, 2 p.m. $3, free for kids. 315-255-1553

Monday Kicks Mon, Feb 14. For ages 2-6, StrongMuseum, 1 Manhattan Sq, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. $7, $5 kids. 263-2700

Open House Wed, Feb 16. HillelSchool, 191 Fairfield Dr, 6:30-8 p.m. 271-6877

Paper Sculptures and Paper Stories Sun, Feb 13. Storytelling, book talks, MemorialArtGallery, 500 University Ave, 1 p.m. Free. 473-7720

Preschool Workshop Thurs, Feb 10. For ages 2.5-5, art project, story, tour, MemorialArtGallery, 500 University Ave, 10:30 a.m.-12 p.m. $17. 473-7720

Science Saturday Sat, Feb 12. Amazing animal artists, Rochester Museum and Science Center, 657 East Ave, 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Tix: $5-$7. 271-1880, www.rmsc.org

Seneca Park Zoo 2222 St Paul St. Wednesdays, book and beast, 11 a.m. Hours: daily 10 a.m.-5 p.m.Tix: $5, $4 seniors, $2 kids. 467-9453, www.senecazoo.org

Swimming Lessons Saturdays through Mar 21.Ages 7-13, various recreation centers and schools. Free. 241-4443

Tapping Your Feet to the KlezmerBeat Wed, Feb 16.Concert, Making American Music series, StrongMuseum, 1 Manhattan Sq, 7:30 p.m. $15. 263-2701 ext 314

Tutoring Program through Sat, Mar 12.For ages 6-18.MonroeHigh School pool, 164 Alexander St (Saturdays, 9:15-11:15 a.m.); FrederickDouglassSchool, 940 Fernwood (Saturdays, 9:15-11:15 a.m.); AdamsStreetCommCenter, 85 Adams St (Tues and Thurs, 3:30-5 p.m.); NorthStreetCommCenter, 700 North St (Tues and Thurs, 3:30-5 p.m.) Free. Info: 428-7888

Bell the cat

Learn as if you were following someone whom you could not catch up, as though it were someone you were frightened of losing. --- The Analects of Confucius, Book VIII.17

            There is a wonderful Aesop's Fable called "Belling the Cat." In it, a committee of mice meets to determine what to do about a fiendishly stealthy feline that has been wreaking havoc on their community. One young mouse suggests tying a bell around the cat's neck so they'd always hear it coming. This suggestion meets with enthusiastic approval until a wizened old mouse asks the fateful question, "And who among us will bell the cat?"

            We grow old, but why grow weary? Must we tire of ponderous things? We are the beneficiaries of ancestral toil, and inherit complex tools and harrowing tasks of our own. Unhealthy cycles must be terminated. Broken lives repaired. Enlightenment restoked. Globally, AIDs might be our polio; the fuel cell our quest for fire; deep space our uncharted ocean.

            We can stop spending time like AWOL drunken sailors taking extended leave of our senses, and start thinking like sober captains with destination and mission ever in mind. We can grow, even as we grow old. We are called to foment change and growth for our families and the world.

            Embrace again your most dangerous challenge. Imagine some distant kin with your portrait on the wall saying: "...oh, that? That's my great, great-grand... (S)he belled the cat."

            Don't quit now. Bell that cat.

--- Rev. Corey Keyes