Thursday, July 01, 2010

A Small Break From Domestic Duties

Technically I am cleaning the house, putting papers in our wonderful new filing cabinet, sorting our treasures, making our home shiny and right.


Don't tell anyone, I wrote this small post about our last days of June. I won't even write much… just post pictures from our impromptu Old Town visit with Ruth and Nick, then our evening at the San Diego County Fair Del Mar Fair. And for the sake of expediency I will not write an apologetic-defensive explanation for why Maria wore the same dress twice this week. I am okay with it.

It should be noted that all four of my beautiful children were in attendance on these excursions. But only one of them will *sign the media contract* and agree to make an appearance on Chickenblog. So, no pictures of them sampling pizza on a stick, or of all of them getting the twenty-five cent foot massages. That's okay. I have the pictures, and the memories, and they are all good.

Now back to the stack of... stuff at the foot of our bed.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A Perfect Gift

We saw Daniel this week. He's our friend since way back when the dudes lived with us, and Max was a newborn... so way back, it's not enough to say "he's our barber."

Daniel picked up his bug-eyed rubber chicken and showed it to me, saying "I was in the 99 cent store and saw this. I thought of you."

He squeezed it, and it made a funny squawk.

I do like chickens. How'd he know?

Then he says something about having it around, he finds himself liking it too much to part with, and that's when I really started laughing.

I could never make him part with it.

"It's the thought that counts, Daniel," I told him. And I took a picture, because the memory of it, seeing his joy, and that hilarious bird, makes me happy all over again.

Max and Alex got haircuts.
And they look extra good.

A perfect gift = Time in the company of a thoughtful friend.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Zoo, In the Plan

I am going to share something that struck me as "brilliant," but now that I prepare to write it down, my idea seems less brilliant and more "duh: isn't it obvious?"

Here I go: Our summer is way too short. The days are going to zip by. I feel very guarded and greedy about them, like they are sips of water in a desert crossing. In other words: We do not want to waste our summer days. So, we made a list of absolutely every single thing we would love, like, sorta want to do this summer. It includes everything from the Shanghai World's Fair to going to the zoo. Some things on the list may not happen. Some things on the list already did happen. Some things on the list I gotta figure out. We just wanted to be sure we had all of our ideas stated, added to the written list, so we were never without a plan.

Yes. That's it: A plan.

My idea, so fresh, so novel and inspired, is basically to have a plan.


I am brilliant.

Moving on...

Our first stop, everyone's first stop when visiting the San Diego Zoo, is to see the giant pink chickens the flamingo pool.

There were baby flamingos!

I have been coming to the San Diego Zoo for over forty years. When we were kids admission was free, so the zoo was like our version of summer camp, or daycare... a safe, affordable, educational, entertaining place to spend the day. I loved it. In recent years they have made dramatic changes, so while I used to know every path and ficus, nowadays there are new discoveries to make, and new paths to take.

And in forty years, I don't recall ever seeing those funny, gray, baby flamingos.

The zoo, and especially the Wild Animal Park, get a lot of feathered freeloaders, like these ducks. It was here at the zoo that I decided that if I should return to the world, that hopefully it would be as a San Diego Zoo duck. I believe this was less of a philosophical discussion, than just my attraction to safe harbors and free food.

From the flamingo pool, we turned left and made our way to the reptiles and amphibians. We saw snakes, lizards, skinks, dragons, crocs, frogs, and tortoises.

This is a big zoo. We know well enough not to try and see everything. But I must say, we did see quite a bit, which was impressive since we walked the whole distance... Maria has strong legs and good stamina.

All those reptiles and amphibians were in the area of the zoo called "Discovery Outpost.

Next we hiked all of the "The Lost Forest," which is where we saw this fishing cat. Handsome fellow.

We saw a tiger too, and bonobo, tapir, monkeys, okapi. This was a down hill journey, all the way to the hippos!

Can you guess?

Yes, we were this close.

She has large pores.

Reminds me of those awful magnifying "beauty" mirrors. Every time I look in one of those I think: TMI!!

Happy Hippo, taking her beauty nap, and Maria enjoying the sight.

Max was taking pleasure in reading the map, figuring out where to go next. And from the bottom of the zoo, Max decided we needed to make our way to the Polar Bears... definitely in a up direction. And so, we hoofed our way to "Polar Rim."

We were fortunate to see animals active, or close up. The polar bears were out. It would have been fun to see them swimming, but this is why it's good to visit regularly, because there is always something new to see.

Always something beautiful to see, like polar bears, and the 200 foot tall California tower in Balboa Park.

Alex finds beauty in design and function. The new care facilities for the elephants is impressive. "Elephant Odyssey" is the newest improvement at the San Diego Zoo.

Pull back a bit and you can see the care facility is just one component of a much larger new home for the African and Asian pachyderms

I love the elephants.

I love the meerkats.

I love the wombats. But they were sleeping.

We left "Africa Rocks," and we were cruising through the "Outback."
No. Not that Outback. Lucky Laura!

So far, this is as close as I have come to Australia. We saw the wallabies, and the sleeping wombats, and next came the koalas. And honestly most days the koalas are hardly worth bothering with, because they are drowsy and shy. I have seen them on good days, when you can see their sleeping faces, or watch them slowly chew a leaf.

But this! This is a first.

Koala on the move!

Not exactly swinging or dashing, but definitely mobile. I am still amazed.

So cute... just remember those crazy sharp claws!

The end?

I guess so.

"Night Time Zoo" started yesterday. We should add that to our "brilliant plan."