Monday, June 19, 2017

A Food And Road Adventure Kind Of Week Of Thankfuls

I wrote last weekend's TToT before the weekend, so this 'un is going to wrap two weekends up in one. 

1. I went to my dad's last Saturday, and he and I went to an auction that afternoon about five miles north of town. We didn't stay very long (it was HOT), and there wasn't anything we were terribly interested in (it was some household goods and the rest was all taxidermy supplies, guns, and sundry other items), but country auctions make for great people watching and are very entertaining. This one in particular had drawn about 15 Old Order Mennonite men and boys, and it was particularly enjoyable to watch the boys sitting on and admiring some ride-on mowers and motorcycles that were up for auction. 

They can't ride them, but they can admire them.

Lots of men, standing around. 

Watching as guns are auctioned.


Horses and buggies tied up in the shade.


2. We left the auction with the intention of going back to the house. My dad rode shotgun and was in charge of directions, and we took a side trip past where my grandma had once lived, then ended up driving all over that part of the country, turning randomly here and there. We took gravel roads and one lane bridges, and eventually, we were close enough to the tiny town of Hume to make it worth going there for lunch. We went to Sisters & Friends Restaurant, and I had one of the tastiest hamburgers I've had in a long time. My dad got a pork tenderloin sandwich that was as big as a plate. We left full and happy.

3. My husband, dad and I went to the stock car races that night. THIS is small town living in the midwest and south! Didja know stock car racing began during prohibition, when illegal moonshine was transported in souped up cars, at night, with no headlights, along winding country roads, as the drivers eluded the "revenooers"? The last time we went to the races, the College Boy (still need a name for him now that he's graduated) was two, and he played in the gravel under the bleachers the whole time. My dad always loved going to the races; my mom, not as much, but she went with him. After they bought the lake house, though, they spent their weekends at the lake and stopped attending stock car races. I'm so happy we finally made it back there this weekend. Very little has changed with the track, and it felt a little as if we stepped back in time about thirty years.

Green flag.


Me and my daddy at the races.


4. The day had been hot, but there was a stiff breeze that made the temperature that evening quite pleasant.

5. So the Nevada Speedway is a 1/4 mile dirt track. Know what happens when cars go flying by a few feet away from you on a dirt track? You get some dirt thrown on you. When you factor in some wind, you end up covered with a pretty good layer of dirt. On your skin. In your eyes. In your hair, all the way to the scalp. In your teeth. It's okay; I'm washable.

Here's one improvement at the ol' Speedway: the bathrooms have been upgraded. Back in the 1970s and 1980s, the bathrooms were indoors, and they DID flush, but there were no doors on the stalls. No. Doors. NO. DOORS. So, SO thankful for the upgrade. SO thankful.

6. My dad really enjoyed the evening and had no problem walking into the venue or with the gravel under the bleachers. He said several times, "This has been a really fun day!" and he was right.

7. I met two friends for dinner one evening this week, and we talked and laughed for two and a half hours.

With Allison and Amy after our marathon dinner.


8. Emma and I drove to Kansas City (everything's up-to-date there, you know) on Thursday and did a little Going To College shopping. We love our girl getaways, even if it's only a day trip.

9. This weekend, my husband, the College Boy and I headed to the lake house, because my dad wanted to take us to an old grist mill turned recreation area (College Boy opted out of this activity and went to a water park with his girlfriend instead). It was 70 miles away by road, probably 40 as the crow flies, and took us two and a half hours to get there (we could have made it in two, but Barfy McBarf Barf in the back seat got queasy the last fifteen miles of twisty roadways, and I had to slow down considerably). The place is called Rockbridge and has lodging (cabins and such) and a restaurant, and the creek is stocked with rainbow trout. We couldn't go inside the grist mill, as the floods in April caused considerable damage to it, but we walked down to the creek and then ate at the restaurant, where I had yet another tasty hamburger to cap off my week.

Creek flowing over the dam at the grist mill.

Trout lurking in the water.


10. Before leaving for the lake, my dad came by my house so he and I could go to the Spiva Center and see a sculpture exhibit by the man who lives across the street from the lake house. His name is Tim Cherry, he's extremely talented, and if you ever hear that he will have an exhibit at an art gallery near you, go see it! 







All three of these are bronze sculptures.


Man, I had a busy week, but not too busy to give thanks.




Ten Things of Thankful






Thursday, June 15, 2017

Link: A Six Sentence Story


As I was mulling over my options for this week's Six Sentence Story prompt, my 18 year old daughter walked into the room, and when I asked her what she thought of when she heard the word "link," this was her reply:

"Link Larkin, you know, Zac Efron's character from Hairspray (she proceeds to sing "And I'm...LINK!"). Or link sausages, because I REALLY LIKE link sausages. Or chain link fence, or linking arms, because I like to do that. Oh, or that annoying email you get all the time that tells you someone added you on Linked In, but I'd go with Link Larkin."



Good choice.

Linking up with Ivy at Uncharted for Six Sentence Stories with the prompt "link."

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Treasures From The Basement: Part 1

In April, my dad's basement flooded due to a monsoon-like storm (if you can have monsoons in the midwest; otherwise, I guess it was just a ridiculous amount of rain accompanied by lots of thunder and lightning, although the thunder and lightning part is irrelevant, except that's probably why it rained so much, so...relevant). 

This happened while we were worried about the lake house flooding from the same storm system and my husband and I had gone there to sandbag the house. The Corps of Engineers and Mother Nature somehow kept the water from rising as high as it did a year and a half ago (when the lake house DID flood), but unknown to us was the water making its way through the basement of the other house. 

My dad was in a rehab facility post-knee replacement surgery at the time, and we didn't discover that the basement had had water in it for another two weeks, so you can only imagine how much fun THAT was. All the cardboard boxes of stuff that were stored on the basement floor, some junk, some treasure, none of which were enhanced by the addition of rain water, were pretty much ruined. Mold growing. Smelly. Ugh.

Cleaning it out has been a chore. Or has it? Here are a few of the jewels I found down there:



Bona fide stereo with record still on it.



My 3rd grade math workbook ca. 1968

My brother's 6th grade ruler. I know this because
of the room number; he and I had the same teacher
and same classroom for 6th grade, which was
located in the basement - hence, the "B"


In 5th grade, we made maracas out of an old lightbulb
we brought from home. Instead of a normal household bulb,
my dad brought home a used bulb from Municipal Auditorium
in downtown Kansas City for me to use for the project. After applying
papier mache to the bulb and allowing it to thoroughly dry,
we cracked the bulb against our desk. The shattered glass inside
then made the shake shake shake sound of the maraca.
My guess is that craft wouldn't fly in schools today....

From 6th grade. See? Same classroom my brother had.

My Brownie bracelet. I lasted all of about four months
in Brownies.
My 6th grade notebook. The stick-on
hands and feet were furry.

I used to keep these on my dresser when I was
in elementary school. I discovered the little
dog is actually a salt shaker. Or pepper shaker.
How did I not know that? Where's the other shaker?
Is that why someone gave it to me? I'll
never know the answer!


One of my favorite finds: my brother must have
ordered this from Tiger Beat magazine.
Pretty groovy, huh?

You might be able to see why the cleaning out of the basement is taking me awhile.

There WILL be a sequel.... 



Friday, June 9, 2017

Woo Pig Sooie And More: Ten Things Of Thankful

Holy smokes! It's Friday already?! Where did the week go? Oh, yeah, now I remember. And it's part of this week's Ten Things of Thankful!

1. Monday was a rough day, as I attended the funeral of my friend's 12 year old daughter, who drowned last week while tubing on an area creek. I did get to talk to my friend before the service, and I am so thankful for that opportunity. She is beyond heartbroken, but hopefully, the healing process has begun.

2. Tuesday was a big day, as Emma and I traveled to Fayetteville, Arkansas, for college orientation, and it became very clear that my baby girl is going to be leaving me in two short months. The thankful here is that SHE. IS. READY.


Baby Girl in front of her dorm. Move-in date is August 11!


3. Another thankful: it only takes one hour and thirty minutes to get there, unless there is a lot of traffic, which there usually is. To get there from here, you have to drive through Bentonville, home of Walmart, and an insanely busy area with highways seemingly always under construction. But she'll only be ONE HOUR AND THIRTY MINUTES AWAY. That's not so bad.

4. When we first arrived at the campus and had to drag Emma's overnight stuff from the parking garage to the dorm she was staying in for the night, I wasn't feeling the thankfuls. But we made it (it was hot) and the check-in procedure went smoothly.

5. While we were in the check-in line, I was noticing all the Texas moms waiting with their kids. They were all tanned and hair fixed and cute clothes and, well, there's a "look." I was standing there, feeling rather inferior, when I noticed a mom in front of us who DIDN'T have the Texas look. We ended up chatting, our daughters ended up chatting, and Emma and I made new friends! They are from the Kansas City area, and we hung out for the two days of orientation, which made the whole thing SO much better!

6. I stayed in a hotel that night and had a king-sized bed all to myself. Ahhh!

7. The parent sessions were deadly dull (yes, it there IS such a thing as a stupid question), especially the morning session on Wednesday, but by noon when I met up with Emma again, she had met with her adviser and scheduled her classes for fall semester. She is now officially a student at the University of Arkansas.

8. We learned how to call the hogs. I am not a big fan of audience participation stuff, and believe you me, calling the hogs is something you have to do with 100% participation, but I did it and it didn't kill me.

(The following is short - watch it!)



9. I participated in Six Sentence Stories this week for the first time in a coon's age. If you want to read my entry, it's right here.


10. I found a new-to-me blueberry farm today, and I picked seven pounds of blueberries in less than an hour. In all honesty, I probably picked more like eight pounds, but a few ended up in my belly. Thank goodness they don't weigh you when you come in and when you leave!


Have you ever SEEN so many blueberries on one bush?!


Something did sting me today, however, which is a first in my many years of blueberry picking. I don't know what it was, since lucky for him, I didn't see him do it, but it's been twelve hours and it STILL hurts. Worth it, though.


Hey, safety first.

That was easy! Why has it been so difficult for me to do this for so long? 

The rest of my weekend is going to be spent going to Bushwhacker Days with my dad, then to the stock car races. Do we know how to have a good time around here or what? I will also do another round of basement cleaning while at my dad's. Yay.

Remember to be thankful for all things, large and small.


Ten Things of Thankful




Thursday, June 8, 2017

Lift: A Six Sentence Story


The two girls had it all planned, saying their good nights, punctuating them with overly dramatic yawns, and tiredly walking to the bedroom as soon as Megan's parents tuned into the 10:00 news. After softly closing the door, the girls clapped their hands over their mouths and laughed silently at their cleverness before carefully sliding the window open and pushing the loosened screen outwards enough for each of them to slip out and drop to the grass below. They tiptoed across the lawn, then made a dash for the shadows of the tree-lined road that led to town, to the party, where they could drink and smoke and press against boys and tease them with the possibility of more.

"Here he comes, right on time!" Megan whispered excitedly as they ran on sneakered feet to the corner just as the dark car pulled up, its lights doused, and the passenger door swung open. The burning ember from the end of a cigarette was the only visible light as the girls jumped into the front seat, latching the door as the car pulled away from the curb.

"Thanks for the lift," Megan said, turning towards the driver, and as the car sped away from the curb, she saw the face in the glow of the cigarette, saw what a horrible mistake they had made, and clutched her friend's hand as the car raced into the darkness.





Linking up with Ivy at Uncharted for Six Sentence Stories with the prompt "lift."

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Thankful For Free Stuff And A Few Other Things

Proof that a thankful list doesn't have to be elaborate, here's mine:

$1 drinks at Kum & Go stores all summer.

Every seventh drink at Kum & Go is free.

My husband and I use the same Kum & Go Rewards account, and I scored the free drink twice in the past two weeks.

I found $3.00 on the floor at Walmart, and there was no one nearby and no way to know who dropped it; therefore, I scored $3.00.

In working on cleaning out the basement at my dad's house (that flooded a few weeks ago during torrential rains), I found some fun treasures. Details later in the week.

My dad set off his medical alert monitor today not once, not twice, but three times while sitting in his recliner and eating a bowl of hash brown casserole and resting the bowl on his chest and accidentally hitting the button. I'm thankful nothing really happened, because that's just plain funny! 

My dad's neighbor got a phone call from the company when the cancellation process didn't work properly, and she called me. I called my dad, at which time I found out what he had done (by the way, it had only happened twice at this point - HE DID IT ONE MORE TIME), and she was able to let the ambulance that was dispatched know all was fine. This is especially good, because he wasn't even home at the time; he was at the lake house when all this went down.

My dad spent the night at my house the night before he had to go back to his doctor for knee replacement follow-up. He tucked the monitor in his shoe and stuffed his socks into the shoe, because he didn't want to tempt Nora by leaving it on a table overnight where she might find it. Guess what? She found it anyway. I'm thankful he was able to get to it when he heard the voice talking to him (it detects falls or perceived falls when a kitten is playing with it), since we now know they send an ambulance to your house.

Nora LOOOOVES my dad's shoes and socks.


I am thankful he wears the monitor. It gives both of us some peace of mind, in spite of a few snafus.

Blueberry season has begun.



This week was a difficult one for making a thankful list, as a 12 year old girl we know drowned this week when the inner tube she was riding on during a family float trip on a rain-swollen creek overturned. It took three days for rescue workers to find her. My heart aches for the family. Rest peacefully, sweet Brooke. You are much loved.

Linking up with Ten Things of Thankful. Join us! 


Saturday, May 27, 2017

Cobwebby Thankfuls

Oh, my goodness, have I neglected my blog! There are cobwebs everywhere, and the dust is thick enough to write your name in it. 

I've missed writing, and even more, I've missed my bloggy friends, but as much as I've missed it, the words just wouldn't flow. I used to try. I'd get my laptop out, turn it on, and maybe even try to write a paragraph or two before giving up. I progressed (or maybe "digressed" is the better word) to setting the computer in my lap but not turning it on until I finally didn't even pretend anymore and didn't even pick it up.

I've got a list of excuses as long as my arm. My mom was my biggest blog fan, and when she passed away last July, a little of my desire to write went with her. I began a second job this fall, working a couple of afternoons a week in a photo studio, and that, coupled with helping with photo shoots, has taken up a lot of previous down-time. It was Emma's senior year in high school, so not only were we busy with all of her activities, including Senior Nights for several of them, I was also on the executive board for Project Graduation (for potentially 500 graduates). I still haven't gotten over that whole fiasco of a presidential election, either, and that's all I'll say about that. Then in March, we were all stunned by the death of one of my daughter's friends in a freak accident. Spencer was the best kid ever, a friend to all and never without a smile on his face. I've known him since he and Emma was babies together in a club for stay-at-home moms, the club where I met his mom, who is one of my favorite people (she was an important part of my Ta Ta to the Ta Ta's Party five years ago). My heart has hurt so for my friend and her husband and daughter, and also for my daughter and her friends, who are too young to have to deal with something so terrible. I've tried to write about it, but the words wouldn't come, because I can't process it all myself. And my reason for starting my blog five years ago is in the rearview mirror now (more later on that), and I didn't know if I had anything else to say.

At this point, I had to decide if I was a blogger or a former blogger.

I'm going to go with blogger. 

And I'm also going to jump back in with the Ten Things of Thankful and include some things I should have written about AGES ago . Here goes:

1. My dad had knee replacement surgery on April 19 at the age of 82. Three days later, he was dismissed from the hospital and went to a rehab facility. He was there for only three weeks before he was released to go home, but boy, was he ready!



2. While my dad was at the rehab facility, torrential rains caused the lake to get dangerously high at the lake house, and weather reports said it could be worse than the flood of 2015 (which made its way into the basement of the house as my daughter and I watched, then we skidaddled). My husband and I went down there and sandbagged and moved what we could to higher ground (meaning higher than the floor, but it was the best we could do). We stayed there until the police began telling people to evacuate, and we told the house goodbye and left. Several neighbors and friends kept me informed on the lake level, and a few days later, the water level started going down.

3. Now, while we were all worrying about the lake house flooding, what we didn't know until the day I took my dad back home was that the basement of THAT house had quietly become a wading pool and then emptied itself. The water was probably not more than a few inches deep, although we can't be completely sure about that, but the bad news is many, many, MANY items were stored in cardboard boxes that were on the basement floor. A lot of books and Christmas decorations and more were ruined, but in all honesty, it was stuff that had seen better days and needed to go anyway. 

4. My dad had his surgery and rehab here in Joplin, and it allowed me to see him every day for the three and a half weeks that he was there. I have not seen my dad every single day for that long since I was in high school, and I loved getting the chance to visit with him daily.

5. The College Boy graduated from Missouri State University in the Honors College Magna Cum Laude with Distinction with a B.S. in Cell and Molecular Biology and minors in Chemistry and Psychology.  He's going to need a name change, for he is going to medical school in August! (Suggestions for a new moniker for him are welcome.) He will be attending the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine, located in Oklahoma City. He started preparing for this in middle school, and all of his work has paid off.

6. There was a tornado warning just as we were arriving at the arena where graduation was held. I dropped the College Boy off, parked the car, and walked the two blocks to the venue, sirens blaring the entire time. Emma was with me and was freaking out (and that's putting it mildly), even though I checked the radar and knew the storm was north of us and moving east, and we were in no danger.

In case you haven't ever heard tornado sirens, here's a small sample of them:



The ceremony was delayed for about fifteen minutes or so, as they hustled the graduates into a safe room in another building as they arrived while all their families sat in the arena. Had a tornado come through, those of us in the arena would have been sitting ducks. The jazz band played and played and played during the tornado delay, but at least it wasn't "Nearer My God To Thee."

7. Emma graduated from high school Summa Cum Laude two days after the College Boy's ceremony. I did not cry (although my eyes almost got leaky when she was singing the with her choir - those damn songs get me every time!). She is SO ready to move on!



8. We held Project Graduation that night for about 240 graduates (we were expecting about half of the graduates to attend, and we were spot-on). I don't remember the last time I stayed up all night, but I think it was probably at a sleepover in 7th grade, but I did it for this, it wasn't as difficult as I thought it was going to be, and I attribute it to the nine salted caramel cupcakes I ate throughout the night (I would have eaten more if I thought my belly would have held them). The event was a great success, and after a week, I think I have finally caught up on my sleep.

9. I got a hair cut.



10. And that reason for starting my blog that is now in the rearview mirror? After five years of treatment, which included 60 injections, one per month into my abdomen, I have finished my treatments for breast cancer - WAHOOOOO!!! 

I'm thankful. So thankful.

Linking up with Ten Things of Thankful. Join us! 

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

A Little Meals On Wheels Story

The Meals on Wheels program has been all over the news for the past few weeks or so as it faces possible budget cuts under the new regime in the White House. The proposed cuts would eliminate two block grants that help provide funding for Meals on Wheels, as well as slashing the Department of Health and Human Services budget, a major source of funding for Meals on Wheels programs, which themselves are not federal programs but are run by independent groups and annually feed 2.4 million home bound senior citizens a hot meal five days a week. Call or write to your senators and representative and implore them to vote to keep this program funded. Go ahead, do it right now. I'll wait....

... Now that that bit of housekeeping is done, I have to tell you a personal Meals on Wheels story.

My mom was a longtime Meals on Wheels volunteer. She began delivering meals shortly after she and my dad moved to the little town of Nevada in 1979, and she continued to do it for well over 20 years, including serving on the Board. Volunteers typically delivered meals one day a week in teams of two, and over the years, various family members would get roped into going with my mom to help deliver meals when her delivery partner was unavailable. 

My mom enjoyed delivering meals. Many of her friends delivered, too, and they would laugh and talk as they were getting their meals ready to deliver. The Nevada program was run from the hospital at that time, and the volunteers would get the hot meals (which were in styrofoam carryout containers) for their route from the kitchen and load them into coolers and get sacks with condiments, bread, plastic cutlery and the like for each person. Once they were loaded, each team delivered the meals on their route, then returned the empty coolers to the hospital kitchen. It was a process that took about an hour or so. 

The only thing about being a Meals on Wheels volunteer that she disliked was when it was her week to have the "dratted book." When it was your turn to have the book (dratted or otherwise), you were responsible for finding substitutes when needed and for making reminder phone calls to the deliverers ("regulars" usually didn't require reminder calls), and you had to be at the hospital kitchen every day that week to make sure all routes were covered (and was another reason family members might have gotten called to action).

Occasionally, my mom would mention an upcoming estate auction she was looking forward to, because she "delivered Meals to this woman, and she had some beautiful antiques." Of course, we didn't hesitate to jokingly accuse her of being a Meals on Wheels volunteer only so she could scope out the antiques, but the truth was, she enjoyed doing a service that was so obviously necessary. In fact, it meant life or death for some people who received meals, as it was most likely the only real meal they ate (and the meals were usually substantial enough that a recipient could eat half for lunch and half for supper). 

When delivering meals, one partner would drive and the other would run the food to the house, and one particular day, my mother was the one carrying the food. At this time, one of the stops on their weekly route was at a senior housing facility consisting of one story duplexes with small yards and a common parking lot in front of them. When the car stopped in the parking lot, my mom climbed out and got the styrofoam box containing the meal out of the cooler. She was carrying it across the parking lot, holding it with one hand on the hinged side while she carried the paper bag of condiments with the other hand, and didn't notice the concrete parking stop until she tripped over it and went flying into the little yard of freshly cut grass. 





Trouper that she was, my mom managed to keep a hold on the styrofoam box, landing on the ground with the box in her outstretched arm. From the car, her friend called out, "Are you okay?! Are you okay?!" 

"I think so," she said as she struggled to get up. Then she looked at the box she was carrying and saw that all the food had shot to the front of the box, and some of it was sticking out of the opening. "The food's all squished to one side, and some of it's coming out of the box."

"Poke it back in," said her friend, so my mom poked it back in and went to the door. 




The elderly woman who was receiving the meal was practically blind and very hard of hearin, and when my mom would deliver to her, she would set the meal up for the woman on the table and lay out all the condiments, then my mom would tell her what was in the container.

As the woman sat down at the table, my mom opened the container and saw the jumbled mess of food and shouted, "Well, your chicken is here, and your potatoes are here and..." she stopped when she realized that along with the vegetables (mixed with some of the potatoes and a little gravy), there were also a few grass clippings.

So what did she do about it? She salted and peppered the woman's food, helped her with her napkin, arranged her bread and dessert, and scurried out the door to the car.

There is no real moral to this story. My mom continued to deliver Meals on Wheels for many years. She never again tripped over the parking stop in the Senior Citizen housing parking lot. She continued to hate the "dratted book" until she finally resigned from her duties for health reasons.

If you have some time in your schedule, you might want to try your hand at delivering Meals on Wheels to a home bound senior citizen in need of a hot meal and a some interaction with the outside world. I guarantee this story will cause you to walk very carefully as you make your deliveries.  Try it and see!

p.s.: Your local Meals On Wheels will also gladly accept your monetary donations.


Sunday, February 26, 2017

Killing Some Time

Just because I haven't been blogging (or FINISHING blogging; case in point, this post), doesn't mean I haven't been DOING things that may or may not be blog-worthy (case in point, this post...).  

In January, the College Boy and I went on a couple of adventures (I do love an adventure). First, we went to Oklahoma City. It was cold. And windy (it's always windy in Oklahoma - you know the song, "Ooooooklahoma where the wind comes sweepin' down the plain" and they ain't a-kiddin'). I had several hours to kill while College Boy was at his appointment, I didn't want to hang out at a mall, so I went to the zoo

A week later, we made a little trip to Omaha. In January. When a massive ice storm was predicted, as in wild-eyed meteorologists speaking of power outages and impassible roads across the entire mid-section of the country. He needed to be in Omaha on a Saturday morning, and we planned to drive up the Friday afternoon before and return home on Sunday. Then Icemageddon 2017 was forecast and our plans had to change (and no, we could not change the appointment and yes, I will explain why at a later date - be patient). I had already made arrangements to rent a car that got better gas mileage than my Sequoia (there's a reason it's named after a tree), and man, I was ready! I had that little car stuffed to the gills with sleeping bags, water, healthy snacks (plus M&Ms, because, come on), blankets, a bag of kitty litter (for traction), ice scrapers, heavy coats and boots, plus our luggage for a three day trip. 

(Interesting factoid: the College Boy was not allowed to drive the rental car, because you must be 25 years old to do so. Kid you not. He can vote. He can go to war. He can drink legally. He can BUY a car. He cannot, however, RENT a car. Go figure.)

We hit the road and got to Omaha late Thursday night. The College Boy's appointment wasn't until Saturday morning. Do you know what you do when you have a whole day to kill in Omaha in January? You guessed it - we went to the zoo.

Omaha has an AH-MAZ-ING zoo - the Henry Doorly Zoo, and if you ever have a reason to go to Omaha, you MUST pay it a visit. We visited it about 8 years ago on a trip to Colorado (and if you want to take a minute a look at a map to see how very NOT on the way that is from Southwest Missouri, you will see why you should make an effort to go there if you ever get a chance).

I had never been to a zoo in the winter before (and now have been to two within a week), and I will tell you that you will pretty much have the place to yourself when it's 22 degrees with a windchill of 14 degrees, but here's a few things I learned from my two zoo trips:

Zoos smell much better in the winter than in the summer.


College Boy HAAAATES getting his picture taken,
selfie or otherwise. Especially selfie.

I understand animals like elephants and lions and giraffes being taken off exhibit and put somewhere warm during the winter, but that pansy ass grizzly bear had absolutely no excuse.

You see a grizzly? No, no, you don't.


I have always been more concerned with wearing a cute coat than in being warm, and now that I have bought the warmest coat I have ever owned, I see just how really stupid that line of reasoning has been. Bonus: the coat is cute.





Some animals are cute and some are ugly and some are fierce and some look like a cartoon illustration.

Cute



Not exactly cute.


Fierce. Him, not me.



Cartoonish?


Cats are cats. Some will kill you and eat you, but all of them like nothing better than sitting in a box.






Giraffes deserve their own door.


Look closely. People door on left, giraffe door on the right.

Shhh! They're still getting used to their indoor digs.

I can't speak for all baboons, but I'm pretty darn attractive to one of them.


Parts of him showed his love for me more
than other parts....

The look of love.


Henry Doorly Zoo is known for their gorillas. Here's one now.



College Boy: But what if I drop my cellphone? Then what?



Gotta be a ninja to take a picture of him.




And the ice storm of the century? Didn't happen, or at least not where it was predicted. We made it home with nary a drop of freezing rain. Ate all the M&Ms and most of the healthy snacks on the drive home. And my favorite zoo animal was waiting for me when I got home.


My Nora Pearl loves me more
than that baboon ever could.