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Archive for March, 2016

They had a free day at the zoo Friday and we went. Me and Agnus, Aud, and Aud’s Mom. It was a nice day too being in the low 60’s. Aud wanted to see the old mill, the ruins thereof, but that she put that off since her Mommy felt well enough to tackle the great outdoors.

Angus likes going to the zoo. I don’t as I don’t like seeing wild animals cooped up, but I accompanied them. More to keep Angus out of trouble plua Aud might spring for a trip on the carousel. Or maybe she’d let us go on the zip line.

The zoo has a new entrance and two new exhibits: River Otters and Grizzly Bears. Even with construction in front, we found the closest handicapped spot that existed. It was a little narrow, but we fit and out we went. To get in one has to show proof of county residence. Aud showed her license. Her mom didn’t have to. Nor did Angus, but he produced his wallet and dug inside for his ‘Alien Residence Card’. He insisted on presenting it to the lady for his ticket even if he didn’t need one, being a sheep and all. The zoo doesn’t charge non-humans. I wonder if they charge secret service Scottish people like the two trailing us ensuring Angus wouldn’t be tossed to the lions for a snack or hugged to death by a pack of preschoolers.

“You might want to ride with Mommy on the wheelchair,” I told Angus. He ignored me, clop, clopping away, then came screaming when a little girl wanted to have him. The secret service agent intersected with the little girl saying what a nice girl she was, and I swung Angus on board.

“It’s a lot safer on here. See all these kids around?”

“Och, aye.” He didn’t get off after that except to ride the merry-go-round. Turns out Scottish Miniature Sheep love merry-go-rounds. He rode the tiger and had Aud’s mom take a picture except she doesn’t know anything about smart phones so one of the secret service guys took it. The other one rode the ostrich, which was behind the tiger.

“Can we go on the zip line?” I asked Aud. “It’s fifty percent off. I have a coupon.”

“And it’ll still be between 25 and 40 dollars. Plus it’s two -three hours long, plus you have to be a minimum of seventy pounds.”

I had no idea. I thought you just hooked up onto a line and flew across the zoo. It turns out there’s a lot more to it, a lot more exciting stuff to it. It’s unfair they limit it to seventy pounds when I don’t even weigh one.  I’ll have to protest.

“Can I go rock climbing?” They have a climbing wall here too and a vertical ropes course, which I could do easy. “Can I?”

“I’m sorry, Pawnee, it’s only for people.”

“I’m a people.”

“Human people.”

I’m highly disappointed, but think maybe I’ll develop my own zipline and ropes course and convince Angus to try it out. He can be my Guinea Sheep while I perfect everything. I put all that in the back of my mind as I concentrate on the exhibits. There are bird. I like the lorikeets best because they can go up close and personal. I like the River otters. I like Angus freaking out at the grizzly bears.

We cross the bridge over the Saluda River to the botanical gardens, but when Aud sees the steep climb up, she says no, she can’t push Mommy up that hill so we go back over the bridge and gaze at the former embankments of a covered bridge. Confederate troops burned it so General Sherman couldn’t cross, but he crossed anyway using a floating bridge and proceeded to burn Columbia to the ground.

At the giraffe feeding area, Angus snags vegetation meant for the giraffes. He won’t listen to me when I say he has to give it back.

“Do you give back meat items meant for others?” He asked.

I don’t answer that.

I like the gorillas. We got there when the silverback got his snack. He had to bare his teeth and jump up and down. That’s so they can make sure he’s healthy. I didn’t like that only he got a snack and the female gorillas didn’t, but maybe they get it later. I also liked the tortoises and the alligator. Angus refused to go close. I didn’t like that everyone was behind bars, but as the zoo lady explained, Riverbanks zoo is helping to help animals around the world.

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What is ‘fuzzy mud’? Fifth grader Tamaya can’t tell you. All she knows is it’s out there in the woods, the very woods she’s not supposed to be walking through. Except when Marshall, the seventh grad boy who escorts her back and forth from school has decided that today he is not going to take the long way home. He’s going to use the short cut and that means through the woods. He doesn’t care if Tamaya follows him or not.

Of course the two get lost. As they wander about they encounter the fuzzy mud and something is very wrong about it.

 

To tell the truth I didn’t even read what the book was about. I only saw the author’s name: Louis Sacher, who wrote Holes.  Of course it’s going to be good. It did not disappoint. It’s part mystery, part thriller. It’s a kind of junior thriller like Lincoln and Child’s books or James Rollins (their early, and I think better, novels). It’s a niche I find lacking in children’s novels so I was excited to read this one.

The book is relateable to kids. Marshall is being bullied. Tamaya is a goody two-shoes who decides to be a little bad, but is still good. She lies to her mother and leaves school to find a friend.

I didn’t care for the U.S. Senate report that tells what happens three months after the fuzzy mud incident. Then bang you’re back three months earlier. I would have liked it all from the kid’s point of view. Besides that, I’d definitely recommend it.

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Dear Hamish,

Thank you for your lovely thank you card. I have framed it. You wee niece will be quite the artist one day. I’m sorry to hear about your tea cups and how they leaked tea over you. Mum said the twins came home with their hooves stuck together and she worried frightfully they’d gotten glue on their wool. Of course they hadn’t. I wouldn’t be that lucky. I have ordered you a pair of new tea cups and will get the money from the twins. Pawnee Kitty has a plan.

You must Youtube Superbowl advertisements and search for the one with the sheep. ‘Tis for some motorcar company. I dinna know which one; that part dinna interest me. The sheep sing a song from the group Queen. ‘Tis nice done and I’ve watched the clip many times. Partly because Pawnee is tired of it and mad they had no kitty commercials and even the one with the Clydesdales disappointed her. Too many dogs, she says.

Also, I have watched Shaun the Sheep Movie. The person rented it and even the Mum liked it. I’m glad everyone is enjoying the copy I sent. Mum said it will be shown each April and they will let ill lambs see it to cheer them up. I am glad to hear that because it cheers me up just thinking of it.

Must run,

Greetings from the Colonies,

Your friend,

Angus. McSheep.

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Mom’s New Teeth

I never thought much about dentures. In these last few weeks I’ve been getting a crash course on them because my mother had to get a pair, uppers. She didn’t want to get them; she was hoping to avoid all that except she lost a tooth, pretty much the only tooth on the right side. Of course she had to show me.

“Look.” There in her palm was a tiny pile of brown.

My ‘ew’ meter jumped right off the charts. I’d rather not talk about teeth, thank you. I go twice a year to the dentist and try hard to do what they recommend. Right now they’re recommending a crown. When I got the estimate they had two crowns down. I can’t afford the one, and I told them that, so I don’t know how they think I can afford two.

Back to Mom. I started the process of denture ‘stuff’. It was gruesome. It was interesting. Mom kept telling the dentists and surgeon that she could not have her teeth pulled until mid January. This after I said we’re not getting it done until after the holidays. Then she told me I had to stock up on soft foods. She planned ahead. There’d be so many days before she’d get her dentures. She wouldn’t be able to anything for weeks, etc. I let her go on and lo, and behold, she was perfectly fine hours after the surgery that took care of all her remaining upper teeth even with the fact she could only have a local due to allergies.

Not that it didn’t hurt. She said it did, but it wasn’t so bad. I think the worst thing was that the denture fell out that afternoon and she couldn’t put it back and I was panicking right and left because blood was coming out of her mouth and that totally freaked me out. I can dress a wound, but if it involves the mouth and teeth… Forget it. I even felt queasy.

But we got over that bit and are now on the sores in the mouth part. We go tomorrow to have the denture adjusted and hopefully that will take care of that and then comes the liner or whatever it’s called. They have to wait for the gums to heal. We’ll both be glad when the whole ordeal is over with.

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Sulfur storms and wastelands. A world with almost no hope. There are only the races, a chance to win a way off this world and to someplace better. Alex Stone’s choices are to be either a miner or a racer. It’s an easy choice, but he doesn’t want to take it. He wants out of Blackwater so badly, to get away from the toxic earth and live at Sky Base. But so do all the riders. All have almost supernatural bykes, gifts from Sky Base, motorcycles passed down through generations. Alex has a chance and it’s one that almost passes him by if it weren’t for Levi Blood and the Scorpions, if it weren’t for Sadie Blood, and if it weren’t for the mysterious, scarred Kane.

This book was like Max Max, Death Race 2000, and Elysium all rolled into one book. It’s a fast paced adventure story. Usually I get bored during race scenes and skip over chunks, but not this time. It was action packed with obstacle courses and the drama between the riders, all vying to win the ultimate prize of getting away.

The bykes are cool what with names like Longthorn, Sidewinders, Rockhoppers, and Snakecharmers. They add a new dimension to the race.

I appreciated the map in the book so I could keep up where they riders were on the course.

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Gingerbread House

I thought I wrote about my gingerbread house, but I didn’t. I shall write about it now. I built the gingerbread house in a library sponsored activity – Gingerbread architecture. When I saw it listed, I called up right away except they didn’t have the sign-up sheet. The next time I went over I asked again about it and was assured I was in the workshop.

We didn’t use gingerbread for the house, but Graham crackers, which was okay by me. The ‘glue’ was a sugar, water, and meringue mix. I wouldn’t have thought meringue would be used, but it worked. The library had everything – Graham crackers, the frosting, M&Ms, Chex mix, pretzels, gummi worms and other decorating supplies. There were about 8 of us in the workshop, all crowded in a small room comparing progress and helping one another out. We could use books for patterns or create our own.

I thought fancy until reality set in and I set out to make the standard Gingerbread house, gluing the slabs of Graham Crackers together, then putting in a chimney, door, and windows. Everyone was amazed I did it so quick. Having never done this before I was amazed everyone was slower and wondered what I might be doing wrong.

Some people had trouble gluing the walls together. One person ended up with a demolished house. After the flood, she  said. Some put a lot of details on theirs and theirs did look nice, but I thought mine did as well.

I took mine home and put it up for display. The plan was to eventually eat it before the Graham Crackers got soft. That didn’t happen. One day, I pried a chunk of roof off and popped it my mouth. Ooh, that was horrible. It didn’t taste like anything good. I think it needs to be eaten right away for it to taste okay. Even the M&M tasted bad.

Still, it was a nice activity and I’ll do it again, but eat the thing a few days later.

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