Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Sunflower Time

They took their time growing. They took their time blooming. It was worth the wait.
Ahoy there! There be other giants about as well, me hardees!
Shiver me timbers!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Primitive Camping

I don't mind camping. I can say that I actually like it. But what The Boy is doing this weekend is beyond my comfort level.

They are primitive camping which means they are taking everything with them that they'll need, hiking to an open spot in the woods and making camp. No running water. No electricity. Not even a port-a-potty. Horrible by any standards.

Here's The Boy with all of his gear. It weighs right around thirty pounds. Fun!
And here's the crew that's going.
All bright and happy now. We'll see how they look and feel on Sunday!

Beep Beep Beep and Beep

You remember Meg.

Motionless Meg steadfastly watching...

My new birds!

Four little zebra finches happily beeping away in their giant cage. There are two boys and two girls. And no, I'm not breeding them. Never again with that craziness.

It's been many bird-less months around here. I didn't know how much I missed having them around until they were back.We are back to very noisy mornings, having the TV drowned out and occasionally pulling Meg off the top of the cage.

In other words, back to normal.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Two Cats Turn Four

This day is almost over, but I couldn't let it close without some pictures of Jack and Meg today on their fourth birthday.

This has been the look on Meg's face for the past day. Tomorrow I'll post why.
She really hasn't moved much.
These are the best pictures I've ever been able to take of her. She's usually a non-stop kind of cat.

Jack on the other hand tends to take it easy.

Really easy.

Really, really easy.
Until he wants something...Then he wakes up and turns on the charm.

Happy Birthday Kittens!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Magazine Time Coming

If you have a subscription to a magazine, you know that you also have a steady stream of renewal offers from the magazine itself saying "Last Chance" and "Makes a Great Gift". Please, do me a favor and never ever order from the publisher, no matter how fantastic their deal is that week. Put that "Buy One, Get One" envelope offer right in paper recycling unopened.

There will always be kids selling magazines. Always. Buy from a kid. It's the very best of fundraisers because you are getting something you already want (unlike kitchen do-dads or candles) and the parents don't have to schlep a product to your door and hound you for cash (there is a certain kind of cookie that comes to mind).

The Girl will very soon be selling magazines for Girl Scouting. All the munchkins from all of the schools will be doing the same thing. Get a new subscription or renew what you've got with a kid. (My kid preferably!)

Oh, and by the way, magazines make great gifts!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Charity Poker

I mentioned before that The Girl made Dance Team. She and The Boy are also running Cross Country. And when you kids are in athletics, it doesn't take long before the parent booster club comes knocking at your door. Our booster group is The Elyria High Pioneer Club. Yours truly is the new parent representative for Dance Team, the newest recognized sport at Elyria High. I'm not the parent representative for Cross Country, but I'm sure that's just a matter of time.

Being in Pioneer Club means that you have to help out with the massive fundraisers they have. The one this past weekend was running a charity poker event at Nautica. I will admit I came into this blind. I had no idea what this would be like. I knew there was "Dealer Training" that you could go to, but you didn't have to so I didn't go. They said there were plenty of other jobs to do at the event. I just couldn't get a clear answer on what.

We four were at camp Saturday night when we started packing. On Sunday morning we were up extremely early, took down the tents, threw everything in the van and on the road by 9 AM. An hour and half later we were home to unload, shower, pick up the dog, start laundry and give the kids money to order in a pizza. The Man and I were back in the van and headed to Cleveland by 1:30.

After some crazy detouring caused by constantly closed bridges, we arrived at site. The poker room was, way back in the day, a very cool arcade in the Powerhouse. I still have some tokens from there, but that's not the currency they use in that room anymore.

The place was filling up and we were thrown immediately into dealer training. The one thing I didn't want to do. (The Man on the other hand was thrilled. It was exactly what he wanted to do.) I must have passed training because before long I was sitting at a table dealing to 12 poker players. They were friendly. They were forgiving of my mistakes. They helped out as much as they could. But I spent the whole time a tense ball of nerves. When I was finally relived, I practically ran out of the room.

The Man was dealing at the same time. He loved it. Thought it was big fun.

A little while later, I was put back at the same table where I was a little more comfortable and made fewer mistakes. That table broke up before my shift was over so I got a reprieve.

This went on all night. You stand around with nothing to do until the guy running the show pulls up to you and says, "Hey, head over to table 18, okay?" The other jobs? There was getting chips for players. That really only took one or two people. The other 58 of us were there to deal. And deal and deal and deal. The amount of money that flowed through that place was blowing my mind.

They let us go at 11:30.

After spending three nights sleeping in a tent followed by nine hours of working a poker event, I slept like the dead once we got home.

And that was our weekend.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Jet Skis and Good Eats

This is the post that involves zero pictures because I didn't have the camera with me for either of these days. (On a side note, the camera that fell in the creek has made a full recovery.)

Maumee Bay boasts two beaches. One is on Lake Erie and the other, across the parking lot, is a man-made lake with ringed by a huge beach. The Lake Erie beach is for boating and water sports not involving swimming. The man-made lake is for swimming. Were there people swimming in Lake Erie? Yup. Were there people boating in the little lake? Nope.

Friday we went as a group to the Erie beach.

And rented jet skies.

And rode jet skies.

Super fast.

Now you're bummed there's no pictures aren't you?

The Girl and I went out on the jet ski and were literally scared to death. You get barely any training besides, "Stay away from everything else," and "If you find yourself on a collision course with something, bear to the right." Then they put you on it and say, "Squeeze this to go. Let go to stop. Steer." That's it.

It was a lot of fun, in its own terrifying way. Bouncing over the waves. Gunning the motor all the way open. It is unbelievably fast when you are actually on one. (Remember now that we are a couple of girls who just recently flew a plane. You would think that a jet ski would be a piece of cake. We both agreed we felt safer on the plane.)

We took turns on the jet ski. The boys went twice and we went once. Once was enough for us.

The next day we went to the man-made beach. Not as an exciting day because we four were already miserably sunburned from the day before. The Man and I sat in the scrubby shade of a lone tree for the afternoon. Behind us were some jabbering foreigners who's tabletop grill got knocked over and they lost all of their yummy smelling food. Bummer.

Speaking of food, I have never eaten so well on a camping trip. Each family was in charge of two meals and one snack for everybody. Being the newbies on this trip, we were assigned lunch both days and instructed to just bring stuff for cold cut sandwiches. Our snack was pie iron pizzas. Couldn't be easier.

The other families seemed to be in a competition with each other. Every meal was better than the next. It was outrageous. Barbecue chicken, steak kabobs, waffles, omelettes. We ate better at camp than we do at home! And every meal worked. There was nothing burned or undercooked or just completely flubbed as camp food tends to go. I've got to step up my game if we go camping with them again in a big way.

One last story. This is not about camp but what happened directly after camp and involves at dimly lit room and lots of cards. Stay tuned.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Family Camping

t's been weeks of camping around in here some form or another. Day Camp, Boy Scout Camp, Student Council Camp, Aviation Camp and Dance Camp. We are just home from our last camp of the summer: Family Camp. We headed off to Maumee Bay State Park with nineteen friends for three nights of tent camping.
The weather was a bit too warm and sunny during the day, but the nights were cool enough for sweatshirts and blankets. Our last camping trip with this group of friends ended with everyone going home a day early because of non-stop rain. This year it was clear the whole time.

Our campsite was just a bit too far away from the shower house so we rented bikes including this tandem.The Man and I rode it all over the place with this. I always helped pedal but sometimes I would just close my eyes and cruise along. I also mastered texting while riding this. The kids were impressed.
There was a boardwalk hike through the site. It was one of those things that sounds like a good idea at the onset, but about halfway through you realized you made a big mistake and now it's too late. You're trapped on this walk and might as well see it through to the end.

I'm including this pictures, not to prove what a good daddy The Man is making sure his girl has on bug spray (though he is!), but more to point out the trees. The number of dead trees in the campground and the surrounding area is so depressing. The boardwalk hike went through whole sections of nothing but dead trees. It's all because of the Emerald Ash Borer which is spreading through Ohio and surrounding states. Our own county is infected but hopefully the quarantines put in place will prevent our area from taking a big hit.

This is what they do to trees. Not pretty. Back at the campsite there was football, hanging out (Note the lack of shade!)
and s'mores.

Ugh. I'm actually too tired to keep going. I've got unpacking to do and a crippling amount of laundry. Stay tuned for our adventures at the beach, the best camp food ever and how I know for certain that being a Texas Hold 'Em Dealer is not the career choice for me.