Wednesday, August 24, 2016

I Didn't Just Have Fun. I Learned Some Things, Too! or Dyanne and I Take St. Charles

As you may or may not know, I went on a little jaunt to visit my friend, Dyanne, in a little town near St. Louis a week and a half ago. (It is the only city between Joplin and Indy, and good for us, it's almost exactly halfway.) We had a roaring good time, and if you want to read the details of what we did, you're going to have to read Dyanne's post about it. I'm only going to reveal the things I learned while on the trip.

1. I am absolutely the WORST selfie-taker on the planet.

When Dyanne was about to leave her house, she took a cute photo of herself buckled into her car and sent it to me. When I was leaving my house 20 minutes later, I did the same.

Minus the cute.

I even counted to three before I took it.

Still blinked.

A pity the selfie-taking couldn't end there...

 Dyanne is a pro at selfies and takes bunches of them. Unfortunately, she kept including me.

While she poses, confident in her gorgeous selfie ability, I sit there resembling Long Duk Dong after his first teenage drinking party. For the love of all, I could be tried and convicted of public intoxication by that photo alone.

Seriously, not once the entire weekend did I look AT the camera.

Only one solution for such selfie ineptness...

No, not strangle the selfie-taker! Wear sunglasses!

2. There are many, many creepy places around the northwest side of St. Louis, made creepier by the fact we were always the sole visitors to the locations. 

Everywhere we went, my first thought was "How pretty!" but that thought was quickly followed by "This would be a great setting for a horror movie!"

We were constantly on the lookout for dead bodies.

For example...

It started out as a lovely walk on a curving path through native Illinois plant life. It ended on the top of a hill overlooking the dam and lock on the Mississippi River.

But when I took that photo, this was behind me...

Pretty sure there were mole people living underneath our feet.

How about another example...

The signs led us to believe we'd be seeing some turtles and other wildlife if we just took the short little walk down the path.

But then the path looked like this...

and the view looked like this...

All around, as far as we could see. No water. No turtles. Just this vine covering EVERYTHING. And it was silent. Not even bird sounds.

Creepy to the nth degree.

I was afraid if we stood there much longer, the vines would overtake us and we'd be trapped forever.

But! That wasn't as creepy as the nuclear waste dump.

OK, we probably could have expected this one to be creepy, but seriously, when you see that on the list of things to do in or around St. Charles, MO, how can you not go take a look??

Once again, they tried to make it look pretty...

but that is one GIGANTIC pile of rocks behind the flower.

The museum at the bottom of the hill claims that there is less radiation on the top of the hill than there is in our own backyards, but I don't know if I buy it.

Majorly creepy.

But still not as creepy as this last one...

We struck up a conversation with the park ranger lady at the museum and she said, "If you like to visit odd things, you need to go down the road and have a look at the bunkers!"

Yup. That nuclear waste dump used to be the site of the world's largest explosive plant, and they needed safe places to store all of that TNT. Hidden bunkers. Dozens of them scattered around a nature preserve.

Of course we had to go see them for ourselves!

We found lots of them. One was actually open, so we parked the car on the side of the road and had a look-see.

Well, I had a look-see. Scaredy cat Dyanne stayed back and took a photo (which she put on her post).

Unfortunately, when I stuck my head in, there were noises coming from the inside. I wasn't about to stick around long enough to find out what was making them. So, no photo of the inside.

3. When given the chance, I will eat my weight in desserts.

And by given the chance, I mean any time without my kids. I hate being a bad example when they're standing right there watching me.

But I outdid myself this time.

Gigantic ice cream cones after our Saturday creepy adventures? Sure!

Use Dyanne's casino winnings ($12!) to have pie at almost midnight? Count me in!

After lunch dessert? Of course! We're kind of full, shall we split one? Heck NO!

Really, if you were there, no way you could have resisted. They had creme brulee cheesecake for Pete's sake!

No exaggeration, I gained 5 pounds in those two days.

It's all the fault of the restaurantuers. If you ever go to St. Louis, have we got some recommendations for you!

4. Surprisingly, I really do know people everywhere I go.

The kids claim that it's true, mostly because every time we leave the house I run into someone I know, and I usually stop and chat for a while and the kids hate that.

I just chalk it up to me knowing a lot of people and the south side of Indy being a relatively small place.

But then...

After pie at the casino, as we were standing up to leave, I heard, "CHRISTINE!" I instinctively turned  around and there, walking towards us, was a woman from our old neighborhood. She has a son the same age as Buttercup, and back in the day, we hung out all the time. I hadn't seen her in years.

So of course I had to stop and chat.

Dyanne took it way better than my kids do.

To those of you waiting patiently for a new post *cough* Kris's mom *cough* or not so impatiently (Dad, you can stop texting me the number of days since my last post now!), I'm sorry it took so long.

See you on the weekend!

Have a lovely day!

Friday, August 12, 2016

My Kids Have It, but Clearly It Didn't Come From Me

One of the million or so papers I had to sign or fill out at the beginning of the year was an inventory of sorts the 3rd grade teacher sent home. While I wasn't looking forward to filling out a 2 page paper, I was thankful it did not require a check, as so many of the beginning of the year papers do.

Question 4 or 5 asked for me to give the teacher three words to describe Turken. Not a fan of those questions, but for this marvelous teacher I would do it.

1. Funny. (The boy is hilarious.)

2. Kind (He wouldn't intentionally hurt a fly, either physically or mentally, let alone a kid in his class. His brother, Cuckoo is a different matter, but we're working on it.)

3. Intelli... That doesn't look right.

3. Intelle...Well, that doesn't either.

How in the world is it spelled?!!

Friends, I had to look up the word in the dictionary.

In case you're wondering, it is spelled I-N-T-E-L-L-I-G-E-N-T.

No irony here.

And that's how things are going around the coop.

In case you were wondering.

So, I'm taking a break.

Leaving Bryan and the kids to fend for themselves.

I'm meeting up with a friend for the weekend.

I'll tell you all about it on Sunday in my TToT post.

I'm sure there will be a photo or two.

You just might recognize both me and the friend I'm meeting.

Try not to vaporize in this oppressive heat and humidity while I'm gone. Oh the insanity of this humidity!

Have a lovely weekend!

Sunday, August 7, 2016

It's a Sports-Lover's Favorite Time of the Year! TToT Time!

The Olympics have begun!!

Oh how we enjoy watching these stellar athletes competing for those gold, silver, and bronze medals.

This week, I'm thankful for...

1. Swimmers

2. Divers

3. Water polo players

4. Soccer players

5. Gymnasts

6. Technology that allows us to watch races being raced in another hemisphere.

7. My family's interest in sports. One of us have played or raced in just about every sport in the Olympics, and those we haven't, we know enough about to know what's going on. Except for rugby. That one makes no sense to any of us.

8. In other news, I'm also thankful for opportunities to get together and visit with friends. There were several this week.

9. The soccer boys had the annual Red vs. Blue games, where our school's teams play each other (JV plays the JV2 team, then after a short break plays the varsity team). It is the only time in their lives that Giant and Star played against Phoenix. Everyone, players and spectators alike, thoroughly enjoyed the day.

Giant getting to the ball before a varsity player.

Phoenix taking a kick.

Why being a goalkeeper's mother is nerve wracking. Star slid in front of that player in order to keep him from scoring. See the ball?

Luckily the varsity player was able to jump over Star. That doesn't always happen.

10. The high school kids had a great start to the school year. They all have friends in their classes and they all are happy with the teachers they got. I am enjoying watching them all enjoying their teen years.

So, what good things are you grateful for this week? Have you been watching the Olympics? What's your favorite event?

Have a lovely day!

Ten Things of Thankful

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