Saturday, August 30, 2008
Friday, August 29, 2008
I've had this past week off from work, and after a day recovering from the camping adventure it became clear to me that I would be needing to get the boys out of the house again soon. I checked the weather and it was going to be sunny and low 70's. Not quite warm enough for the beach, but probably a good day for going to the ZOO.
I kind of hate the Detroit Zoo. They are running out of interesting animals ever since they sent the Elephants away to relieve their emotional issues. Most of what's left can be described as brown lumps hunched up in the distant corners of their habitat-imitating exhibits. I swear we could get more animal interaction by dangling a shoelace in front of our cat. We recently had an election proposal to pay more taxes to support the zoo, and Jeffrey accompanied me into the voting booth to make sure I checked the YES box. Since he's so cute I did that AND promised to take him there yet this summer.
The problem with our zoo is that it has been designed for the comfort of the animals, and not the humans. Especially the little ones in strollers. There is brown wooden fencing placed at the exact eye level of a toddler. 2 beams: one for sitting in a stroller and one for standing. And don't even get me started on trying to propel a stroller or a wagon over the sloping grounds. You have to apply TORQUE to keep it pointed forward. Very tiring. But now that my kids are out of the stroller/wagon stage, it is easier to get around, and I like looking at the gardens they have there.
The phone rang. It was my mother, she was going to be taking care of Cale and Ramona and was thinking we should all go to the zoo. I told her that I was already planning to do that, so sure, we could all go together. Lately my mother has been having trouble getting around due to arthritis developing in her hip. I hate to see this because it makes her suddenly seem OLD.
"I was thinking I'd rent a wheelchair" she said. "So if I get tired or my hip hurts, we can still get around." Just when I thought I was done with wheels at that place.
Ramona brought along her BFF Julia, here they are being pushed by my mom. When I noticed people looking at them curiously, I would throw the phrases "Siamese Twins" and "not able to be separated" into whatever I was saying, for them to overhear.
Cale and Jeffrey also found the wheelchair to be a ton of fun.
Eventually we made it through the whole zoo, past all of the brown lumps, most of them sleeping. The gorillas were actually moving, just kind of lumbering around with an expression that conveyed their sense of boredom over the conditions of their captivity. They seem so human like, you could almost imagine them among the cubicle aisles...
We declared ourselves to be DONE when we saw the prairie dog, which happens to be at the far corner from the zoo entrance. I shooed the kids away from the wheelchair and my mom got in. I began to push her towards the aisle that Kendrea calls the "Trail of Tears." I found that if I kept a good speed going it was a little easier to maneuver the thing, and we were clipping along past the red-hatted crane when...BAM the front wheels hit smack into a pothole, the wheelchair stopped and my mother kept moving. I watched her roll forward out of the chair. She plopped onto the ground, tumbling, arms and legs every which way. I stood behind the wheelchair, unbelieving what was happening, and shouting nonsense like "I hit a pothole! Kids help Grandma get up! Somebody do something!"
With much commotion we managed to get her upright and back into the chair, which she gripped tightly as I stormed to the front of the zoo, looking for an authority. Something had to be done about this! We found guest services, an unwelcoming steel door with a button on it, which when one of the kids pounded on a buzzer sounded. I opened it and walked in, and my mom and all the kids followed.
"I need to report an incident!" I announced. The woman who was sitting at the nearest desk looked up at me. "I was pushing my mother in the wheelchair, and we hit a POTHOLE, and I dumped her onto the CEMENT!"
She looked at my mother, who started talking: "Well my hip has been hurting me, and then lately my knee, and..."
"You ok?" The lady interrupted her.
"Well, yes, now I am, I'm fine." She answered. Then all of the pairs of eyes turned towards me. I took a zoo map from the lady's desk and put an "X" on the spot where the pothole was. I handed to her and stood up straight, demanding-like.
"Please tell me that you will have that pothole fixed!"
The lady leaned back in her chair, and tilted her head towards some unseen other person in the office area.
"She dumped her mom in a pothole. Take care of that, wouldja?"
Everyone looked at me again. "Thank you, um, that's what I wanted!" I said and we all shuffled out of there.
For the next couple of days, at random moments, Timmy will shout out to a rap beat:
"She DUMPED her MOM in a POTHOLE!" And then Jeff and I will join in: "Take care uh that, wouldja?" And then we crack up.
Monday, August 25, 2008
We struggled to put up our tent, and then Becky and Hal's next to it, as storm clouds gathered over the lake. Winds started whipping up and the sky blackened as the kids and Grandma scrambled into Honey the Camper and we put things away and battened down and zippered up into the tents. The winds screamed and howled and rushed horizontal while thunder rumbled and roared. The walls of the tent were flapping madly and it felt like we were going to take off into the air. Then the rain came pounding down, heavy, soaking, sheets of water, like 100 hoses pointed at us on "jet." The rain fly was starting to gather big pools of water and we ran around the tent smacking it to empty them. By then the water was coming in through the zippers, and I was dashing around rearranging our things to the center, when I heard Becky shrieking from the tent next to us. I zipped back a corner of the window enough to see that their tent had entirely collapsed in one corner, and was lurching and heaving into a crazy contortion. Then Hal came running out, and managed to straighten the tent pole as the rain blasted and soaked him to the skin. Thunder roared above him and flashes of light lit the sky. Ok, some of those flashes of light were from my camera:
The storm eventually passed over, and left us, our stuff and the entire campground soaked and muddy. Hal rigged up a tarp by stringing ropes across the trees, and we huddled underneath to have a soggy little birthday party and talk about what a storm that was.
It was the kind of storm that you don't get too often. The kind you will always remember. The kind of storm that would turn over a ship, causing the many wrecks that now lie on the bottom of Lake Huron in this area. Or the kind of storm that shakes them loose.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Nancy put a link to a recipe in the comments, but it was incomplete. I typed in "Peaches stuffed with" and came up with this recipe:
Peaches Stuffed with Amaretti Cookies
Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis
1 1/2 ounces amaretti cookies (about 12 small cookies) 3 ripe, firm peaches (about 5 ounces each), halved and pitted 3 teaspoons sugar (1/2 teaspoon per peach half) 3 teaspoons unsalted butter (1/2 teaspoon per peach half) 2 cups fresh whipped cream
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter the bottom of an 8-inch baking dish and set aside.
Using a melon baller, clean out the red flesh from the center of each peach. Arrange the peaches cut side up in the prepared dish. In the bowl of a food processor, add the amaretti cookies and pulse until finely crumbled. Divide the amaretti crumbs between the peaches. Fill the center of each peach with the amaretti cookie crumbs. Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of sugar over each. Dot each peach with 1/2 teaspoon of butter.
Bake until the peaches are tender and the filling is crisp on top, about 30 minutes. Serve warm with whipped cream.
Except we don't happen to keep amaretti cookies on hand. I'm not even sure what they are, but if they are the almond-flavored Italian cookies I'm thinking of, I would not put them in a food processor to add to a piece of FRUIT. I would just eat them up. So I looked around for what we did have on the cookie shelf and came up with Graham crackers. Then I had an even better idea to skip that dragging out the food processor step and found a box of Graham Cracker Crumbs! How long has that been in there? I think they came out pretty good. Here's a picture of my creation:
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
On my way home from work, after picking up the kids from Grandma's, I had to stop to pick up my new glasses (yeah, I'm still dealing with vision issues.) Some dark clouds were starting to gather, so we quickly shut the windows and sunroof. When we came back out, the sunroof was open a few inches, and it was stuck that way. We were only about 2 miles from home at that point, but what do you think happened during the few minutes it took to get us there?
You got it, torrential downpour. Luckily, we had a beach towel in the car, and we were able to stuff and hold it up there, laughing our heads off at the absurdity.
When I told my friend JJS at work about this, he promptly figured out what the problem was (a fuse) looked up the part number for it, and eventually ended up working his connections in GM to procure a sample part. He even installed it for me. I felt happy to have a friend that is willing to go so far to help me out like that (and knows so many key people in the company!)
For inconvenience of a blown fuse and an untimely rainstorm, I got a fun moment with my kids and to appreciate a favor from a good friend. Not bad. It actually made me feel good, kind of like... an eagle soaring...
When I came to work in the morning Bob was excited to show me that he found a clipart picture of an eagle flying above a cloud. He had added a version of his little speech and printed it out.
I helped him tape it up to the cubicle wall.
Thursday, August 7, 2008
Here she is picking up the meat:
And here she is moving it out of the freezer and into the furnace so that Mark won't find out how much she spent:
Unfortunately she got trapped in the freezer and turned into a human popsicle, and then the furnace got turned on with the meat in it.
"Don't ask any questions, just grab a knife, a fork, a bottle of ketchup and follow me to the biggest barbecue in the whole world!"
Sunday, August 3, 2008
Let's see... First off, we were going to ride bikes later in day, so we had to put the bikes on the bike rack. It seriously took like 45 minutes to put two of the bikes on the bike rack.. Fun..
Now, we had a little time before lunch, so we walked across the street, to Comerica Park, the home of the Detroit Tigers! When we were there, we stopped in the store, and we bought a pack of Baseball cards, one for each of us. Then we walked over to the side of the stadium, where we could see the whole field really good. We saw some groundcrew members keeping the pitchers mound nice and good for the pitcher. Then it was about time for lunch, or about 11:00, and we knew it might take them a while to make the food. So, when we walked in, there was a little gift stand in the restaurant, and my aunt knew the guy who worked at it. And he was also the guy who plays the organ at the Fox Theater! And after our lunch, he offered to give us a tour of the FOX Theater. He played the organ for us, and a tour group who was having their lunch at the time. He gave us a tour of most of the theatre, and we saw the green room. It wasn't actually green though, they just call it that for some reason. It was actually a room with signatures from all the famous people who came into the fox theatre. We even got some pics of the signatures of Bill Clinton and Al Gore on one, and Bill Gates on the other one.