Blue Beauty Ratsnake
I am regularly amazed by the variety of events that occur at the UIC Physical Education Building. I swim there twice a week, typically on Sunday mornings in the 25-yard pool and Tuesday evenings in the 50-meter pool. The building itself is a little strange– really more of a conglomerate of various projects, expansions and remodeling than a cohesive design. The two pools bookend the building on the east and west. Between them stands a large, open space big enough for three full sized basketball courts. This two-story room has wooden floors and a wraparound balcony with a small running track. And it just seems there is always something new and different happening here. I’ve seen basketball tournaments, volleyball tournaments, dance competitions, and cheerleading tryouts. It’s regularly configured to support men’s and women’s gymnastics meets. And of course, there are regular swim meets and diving competitions in both pools. Add in regular practices for all of these sports, plus baseball and softball camps and you have a rather busy sports building.

But occasionally, something different rolls into the PEB. Something unexpected. Something like the Chicago Herpetological Society’s ReptileFest, the nation’s largest educational reptile and amphibian show. And when that happens– like it did this morning– I sometimes send Whirl a note about it. And sometimes she comes down to check it out. Like she did this morning. And we spend an hour or more wandering around the various exhibits talking about snakes and toads and lizards and turtles and monitors and iguanas.

Because nothing quite says, “Good job with that swim practice!” quite like the friendly grin of a crested gecko.