Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Birth Announcement

The Flamingos are pleased to announce the arrival of these:

I think there are fifteen itty bitty wittle duckies in that picture. Let's try counting them in this one:

Dangit. Lost two already -- it's like me chaperoning a kindergarten class to Busch Gardens for crying out loud. Here -- let's try again:

Hmm. Still thirteen. I hope those other two aren't trapped under that grassy mossy thing that is trying to overtake our creek. Didn't I count fifteen in the first picture?

There they are -- see, there's one little ducky booty way over there on the left. And there are two more close up against Mama Duck.

Joe thinks that these sweet wittle duckie-poos would have a better chance at survival if we lured them away from their mother and raised them ourselves. I have mentioned, haven't I, that Joe has some interesting theories about what's best for animals? He's not really a fan of that whole "survival of the fittest" nonsense. (Remind me to tell you about the "pinky" mice that he was supposed to feed to the neighbor's snake but that ended up living to adulthood under Joe's nurturing care. In our garage. Outside of their cage. And when I threatened to set traps, he took them to an RV storage lot and set them free under someone's motorhome. They're probably visiting the Grand Canyon as we speak.) As it is, one or two of the ducklings will be picked off by an alligator, on or two by the otters, and one or two by the osprey. Do otters eat ducklings? Do osprey? I don't know. And I don't care what Joe says, they're not coming onto our porch, or heaven forbid, into the house. I refuse to scrape duck poop off the porch -- I've already done that for the roosters (the ones that "got lost" -- "in a storm") and we're not going back there.

Friday, March 20, 2009


Last week was Casey's spring break. We had big plans, as usual, none of which came to pass (as usual, such is the way of the Flamingo). Casey wanted to go to MOSI (Museum of Science & Industry), but for the two of us to go it was going to cost $50, so that was out. I wasn't going to pay $50 and not get to see the cool IMAX movie -- last time we tried to take Casey to an IMAX movie about dinosaurs he completely freaked out and YaYa had to take him out. I guess it panicked him that he couldn't tell when a dinosaur was going to come from behind and eat him. You can explain and explain to a 4 year old about how the dinosaurs aren't real (and maybe they never were, if you're a member of the Duggar family; but these are questions I'm okay with waiting to ask God about when I get to heaven, along with why we have to have soooo much snot when we have a cold).

So we went to the zoo instead and took Mace with us (because they don't have enough monkeys there). The zoo here is great -- you can basically set your toddler down and follow him around the entire day without having to worry about him falling into a lion exhibit or pit of vipers (you wouldn't have to worry about that anyway, really, since there are no lions or vipers at Lowry Park Zoo). Though he could fall into a pool of stingrays, it's not deep and and the stingrays have been de-stung.

Casey and Mace really liked the penguins. Me too.

Mace and that guy are having a moment.

These penguins reminded me of Grits, my dog who died in the front room last year and no one noticed until Grandma practically tripped over him. He had gotten so fat and lazy in his later years that he couldn't be bothered to chase scraps when you threw them out in the yard (Joe says it hones a dog's hunting instinct if you make it chase scraps in the yard -- but Joe's eccentric beliefs about how animals think is a whole blog topic in itself). So Grits would watch you throw the scraps off the porch out into the grass and while the other two dogs would scamper out and start sniffing in the grass, Grits would just stand there looking up at you until you let him lick the plate or something because he was so highly evolved, he couldn't be bothered to chase after scraps. The animal handler in the picture up there was trying to get the penguins to jump out into the water to chase after the fish she was throwing out there and they were just sitting there looking up at her, waiting for her to hand 'em over. Look at that rookie penguin in the water -- he must have just arrived the day before.>

Mace followed Casey into the elephant transport crate, but when he got a whiff, he plopped to his bottom and scooted out in a hurry.

You can get up close and personal with the giraffes at Lowry Park. A little too personal if you don't like giraffe breath, but I have boys and they always smell a little funny, so giraffe breath is nothing.

We ended the day in Australia -- that's where the water play area is.

It was a warm-ish day, but not hot and it was overcast -- so that water was a little cold. It took Mace a while to get into the spirit of being half naked at the zoo:

Mom -- you'll be happy to know that we made it through an entire morning at the zoo and I managed not to get kicked out.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Tomato Tomata

When we moved into Casa Flamingo four-ish years ago I wanted to plant a garden. So we tilled a pretty large area out in the corner of the yard where we get a lot of sun. I planted sunflowers, radishes, squash, cucumbers, carrots, tomatoes, and watermelon. It grew like gangbusters for about four weeks and then wilted, turned gray and died within about three days.

Except for the radishes. I hate radishes. We had radishes for months. They refused to stop growing. I eventually stopped pulling them up.

It really was the saddest thing ever. I was soooo looking forward to eating vine-ripened tomatoes.

Each year, Grandma Elsie and I try a new method for raising tomatoes and each year, we end up with one or two puny specimens before the plant just gives up, turns gray, and dies. So for the past two years, we've been researching the best ways to grow tomatoes in Florida and this is what we're doing this year:

I've heard this works. I'll let you know.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Thin Mint Fast

About a week and a half ago, I met some of my girlfriends (aka the "Yak-Yaks") for dinner at Tijuana Flats. As I was almost to the door of the restaurant, I noticed some girls (who looked a lot like those little girls below) waiting for me to get within earshot. I quickly averted my eyes and picked up the pace [ just keep walking, just keep walking, ignore the call of the cookies].

"Excuse me, miss? Would you like to buy some cookies?"

It was like I had no control over my feet -- they heard the Siren Song of the Thin Mints and just walked over to the table by themselves with me attached. I bought three boxes. I was going to exercise some restraint and only buy two, but the mom in charge said they couldn't take a check for less than $10.00, so I had to get the third box. Clever little Girl Scout up-selling trick, that.

When I got home with the cookies I immediately put them in the freezer (room temperature thin mints are disgusting, but somehow frozen thin mints are little delightful discs of decadence). Somehow I forgot about them, until about five days ago when I went into the freezer to get out something super healthy to eat (frozen pizza). I saw them sitting there -- all three boxes -- untouched -- and immediately ate half a roll. I really have tried to control myself since then and only eat half a roll a day, but sometimes I get carried away and eat half a roll for a morning snack and half a roll for an afternoon snack and then four or five (or twelve) while I'm trying to come up with a blog post. Which is why I blame the thin mints for my lack of posting this last week -- they are extremely distracting -- I'll be sitting in my room, minding my own business, trying to write, and then the image of the box pops into my head. Next thing you know, I'm heading downstairs for the freezer.

Here's something you may not know about Thin Mints (I didn't). They have one of these:

Huh. Silly Girl Scouts. Like we care.

Anyway, as I was saying -- I was going to beg someone to take the last box out of my house in this post, but I'm afraid Joe would actually throw my last box away. Don't underestimate him -- he would toss it and then have the nerve to tell me that I wanted him to!

Our church is going to start a Daniel Fast this weekend (for 21 days, I think, or maybe it's 40, and I'm not real sure it's this weekend we're starting, but I think it is). On a Daniel Fast you can eat fruits and vegetables and whole grains, and you can drink water. Seeing as how I only eat three vegetables (peas, green beans, and lettuce -- and I can't eat lettuce without scads of dressing and Bacos, so it's probably out); and two fruits (bananas and apples -- oh wait, and the occasional strawberry when it's dipped in chocolate or covered in sugar, so that will probably be out, too), I'm pretty sure the pure Daniel Fast is not in my future. BUT -- because I want to participate, I'm going to give up sugar. If you've ever seen me kill a cup of coffee with sugar, you'll know why this is going to be a huge sacrifice.

So I have to eat the last box of Thin Mints by Saturday. Shouldn't be a problem. I'm going to go ahead and get started right now, though, just in case.

Thursday, March 5, 2009


Monday night my mom and I were talking on the phone and I told her that on Tuesday, I was chaperoning Casey's field trip to Busch Gardens. She knows every sordid detail of how difficult it has been for me to adjust to Casey's new school. Mom was totally supportive and said, "Don't screw it up."

So on Tuesday I tried extra hard to be an attentive and responsible chaperone. I was prepared to be in charge of three or four kids, but the kindergarten teachers were apparently not so keen on entrusting more than one kid with me. Justifiably so, I guess, when you consider the one I was assigned:

And before Tuesday, all these teachers knew about me was that I couldn't dress my kid in the right uniform on the right day and couldn't even remember to send Valentines to school on the day of the Valentine's party. So can we blame them for wanting to protect all the other little kindergartners from me? I might get distracted by the flamingos and leave them in the bathroom or something. But they probably assumed I would be highly motivated not to lose my own kid (silly teachers).

See Casey there? He's the one with his hand raised. The guide just told the children that possum are the only animals in Florida that carry their young in pouches. When the guide let Casey ask his question, he said, "But what about sea horses?" The guide said, "Okay, let me clarify -- possum are the only mammals in Florida that carry their young in pouches." That's pretty much how the whole day went. The guide would tell us something, Casey would ask a question that illustrated how she was dumbing it down for the kindergartners, and then she would clarify her answer. She eventually started ignoring Casey's raised hand.

Hey look! Flamingos! Casey -- look at the Flamingos! Casey?

Anyway. At the end of the field trip, the chaperones were allowed to sign their own children out and drive them home instead of following the bus all the way back to the school. Our friend JP plays in a show at Busch Gardens and we had just enough time to catch it before we needed to leave, so I signed Casey out, the teacher said, "Have fun!" and off we went to the Doo-Wop Show.

There's JP sitting on the stool at the piano. He's great. The show was great. Everybody was happy. After the show, JP came down to say hi and as we approached him, we hear, "CASEY! CASEY!" We turn around and there's our guide running down the aisle to the stage and with the entire cast of the Doo-Wop Show and all the other parkgoers who were at the stage to talk to the performers looking on, we get a lecture on why we were not allowed to stay in the park after the field trip and that we would have to come with her immediately to be escorted out of the park. The only reason she knew where we were was because I had told Casey's teacher where we were going and when the guide started freaking out because we weren't with the rest of the class when we got back to the education center, Casey's teacher had started calling my cell phone to tell me we were in trouble. I'm pretty sure that guide had it in for us -- Casey had been showing her up all day.

So Mom, I'm sorry. I got myself and your grandson thrown out of Busch Gardens. I screwed it up after all.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Writing Process

Sometimes if I just start typing I think of something to blog about. Nope. Nothing this time.

It helps if I turn off the TV [picking up remote, pretending to turn off Brothers and Sisters. Can't quite bring herself to do it]. Nope. Still nothing [but that Rob Lowe is a handsome devil, isn't he?].

Next, I browse through my pictures -- it looks something like this:

Hmm. How about this one?

Kids in a box. Cute -- but Mace looks a little frightened and Casey looks a little psychotic and I've already done a "kid in a box" post and I don't think I could get a whole post out of this, even if I combined it with this next picture:

Clearly Mace gets his revenge, but there's nothing out of the ordinary there. Won't make a blog post. Next!

We went bowling yesterday with the Worship Arts Team from church. It was fun, but only a couple of unexpected things happened, one being captured (and possibly imprisoned forever) on a video in Heidi's camera and one being captured here:

While this technique did result in one strike, it did not prove to be a winning strategy in the end. Get it? In the end?

Still. If I wrote an entire blog post about that, I'm pretty sure that the really really good friend of mine who belongs to that rear-end would stop speaking to me (though I do have a close up shot and my really really really good friend has to know how very deeply I cherish her friendship because I did not post the close up, which is really the funnier picture). So . . . .

No blog fodder from the pictures. I've been waiting for just this moment -- when I completely run out of topics -- to pull out the old standby of bloggers everywhere. When we run out of things to blog about, we check our stats in Google Analytics and pull up the list of keywords that get typed in search engines that land people on our blogs. Here's the list:

an X-rated Christmas (I hate to think where that person eventually ended up on the web. ick.)

froicking flamingo

best petit fours in Tampa (they were good, but I haven't tried all the petit fours in Tampa)

champagne cake

chocolate flamingo (do they make those? who will be getting me one for my birthday?)

flamingo joe (my favorite)

flamingo meaning (hmm. deep.)

how to make buttercream flamingos (do they make those? who will be getting me one for my birthday?

kids dance about ice cream

p90x abdominal

p90x and flatulence (Joe thinks there's an entire blog post in this one. I told him he could write it.)

pictures of petit fours (why would you want pictures when Publix makes some you can actually eat?)

salty buttercream (People. I covered this in the blog post. Salt + buttercream = devastation.)

unsalted butter v. salted butter icing (apparently this person and I need the same cooking class)

we need flamingos because . . . (because they write occasionally witty blog posts that more often than not slide backwards into drivel, but we don't care cause the kids are cute!)