Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Last Day, Cold Day

We enjoyed a quiet day until we picked up some kids from school.

We spent time at a new park.  It was cold.

Papa guessed that it was about 50 degrees.  But it was windy.

I am rarely bothered by the cold, but the outerwear we had taken on this trip was insufficient.

The kids didn't seem to mind at all.

They know how to increase their body temperature.

Jane borrowed my camera so she could take this picture.

I borrowed it back so I could take this one.

I counted to three, and she let go.

Despite the cold, this was a fun playground, with a lot of equipment I had never seen before.

Jane is a budding photographer, and she took my camera again.

While I strolled around the park to keep warm, Jane took pictures.

The sun came out for 5 seconds, and she caught Ben basking in it.  He didn't have a coat when we picked him up from school.  Jill brought him one later when she joined us.

Corinne knows how to dress for the weather.

Jill's jacket was more like what I had.  Ok for most things, but not for an hour and a half in a cold, windy park.

Still, I had a lot of fun.  I've had an especially good time with Ben on this trip.

He's funny, curious, and very interesting to talk with.  I always learn something.  For example, I now know the difference between an ordinary bug and a beetle.  (Hint:  the wings.)

When the adults finally decided to leave, believe it or not, we had to chase down this kid's shoes.

Back at the ranch, Ben and I walked to the Toothache Trees to see if we could trim off a couple knobs.

Our intention was to chew on these and see if our gums got numb.  We meant to.  We wanted to.  I can't say exactly why it didn't happen.

Lots of things were going on late this afternoon, including a little homework.

Ben found his cousin Ella, who he adores.  And maybe she adores him right back.

Dinner happened.  Pasta and shrimp.  Jill is a great cook.

This is Luke's favorite meal, and I loved sitting next to him during dinner.

Monday, December 4, 2017

I Want Papa to Sit by Me!

I arrived at Jeff's house this morning in time to see Jane's hairdresser in action.  It's efficient to braid hair while the braidee eats homemade pancakes.

Dad made fizzy grape juice for the kids.  Two boys politely declined.  Jane loved it.

After riding bikes to the school with the kids, I returned to Jeff's and put Hank on the leash.  I was very curious about the thorny tree and decided to study this a little more.  I looked to see how many trees I could find -- a total of three this morning.

The protrusions are all over the tree.

Not knowing anything about this tree was driving me crazy.

Notice the absence of thorns on these protrusions. 
A short distance away I spied another one of these trees, this time with thorns.  While studying the pictures, I tried one more time with Google and got lucky. 

This is called a Toothache Tree.  Both the leaves and the knobs have a numbing effect on the gums, apparently enough that after chewing on one or the other, a friend can pull out one of your teeth, assuming you have a friend who might want to do that.

After the walk, I gave Hank back to Jeff and I returned home, where Corinne and Papa were making plans to visit our favorite aquarium in a mall.

Ben goes to this aquarium often, and he knows where his favorite places are.

I am always trying to improve my fish-picture-taking skills.  I took 400 pictures in the aquarium this morning and will post all that were in focus.

I can generally capture star fish without blurs.

This lion fish held very still.

The spikes on the anemone move in the water.  I used the sport setting to get this picture.

Fortunately, this stingray was resting on the glass above me.

This creature was in constant motion, but he stopped long enough for my camera to focus in the dim lighting.

Some of the sea creatures in this aquarium have been rescued. This turtle had suffered an injury from a propellor.

I actually took 20 pictures of the jelly fish, and every single one was in focus.

I took 20 pictures of Papa and Ben in the submarine and none were in focus.

I had quite a bit of difficulty getting good pictures of the seahorses, but the colors are fun.

This caiman reptile and a buddy were rescued from a local garage.  This one held completely still.

The touch tank is the last of the exhibits.  Ben moved fast, but he held still long enough to pet one creature, and then he was off again.

Back at the ranch, we had fish for lunch.  Some had sticks, others had Tilapia.  Ben has learned how to put salt on his vegetables.

Quiet time came after lunch while a little person napped.  This picture is for Jane, who doesn't believe that Confucius actually exists.  Confucius loves Papa.

Late in the afternoon, Ben and I read a clever book which involves 8 puzzles.  I loved this book!  So did Ben, who could put all of it together by himself.

Ben has begin asking that Papa sit by him.  Of course, this gives me the front seat.  I did my best to take a picture of their laughing.

On our way to meet Jeff and Jill, we happened upon a plague of Grackles.
We had dinner at Jill's favorite Thai restaurant.  Needless to say, the meal was delicious.

After dinner, Jeff took me to Ella's choir concert.  I loved it.  I love her.  The auditorium was standing room only, and I stood against the back wall.  I love my camera.

On the way to the car, Jeff waited while I took a picture of the supermoon.  What a night!