lydamorehouse: (cranky aizen)
My family has a very unusual attitude towards truancy. We encourage Mason to practice it from time to time, as needed, to blow off steam and to have a 'mental health' day/practice self-care. I don't ask a lot of questions or make any requirements for him to use these days. Mason just knows that he's allowed to say that he needs a day now-and-again.

On Thursday, driving in to school, Mason said, "You know how we sometimes just take off and drive somewhere? Today would be a good day to do that."

So, we turned around, I called him in sick, and we went home so he could catch up on a bit of sleep. Then, we talked about what kind of adventure he wanted, and, since it was really cold and there was supposed to be a winter storm moving in around us, we decided to stick close to home. After a comforting lunch, we headed out to Como Zoo. We spent most of our time in the Conservatory, because it's warm in there. Here's the view looking up at the glass dome.

looking up at the Como Conservatory's glass dome

This was just what the doctor ordered. Mason and I chatted about what's going on in his life, while strolling through the heat and the humidity of the conservatory. Because of the time of year, a lot of the tropical plants had fruit. We saw a Buddha's hand, coffee beans on the coffee tree, several ripening cocoa pods, and a bunch of other stuff that made me think that maybe I should try to take over the Conservatory when the apocalypse comes. I mean, they have COFFEE!

Then, because we're insane, we decided to see which animals might be out enjoying the sub-arctic temperatures. No surprise, perhaps, but the Siberian tiger thought it was lovely out.

Siberian tiger in the Minnesota snow

As I wrote on Facebook: 'Not the polar bear, surprisingly, she was sleeping. The Siberian tiger was out, as were the wolves, the reindeer, the bison, and the arctic foxes which I have LITERALLY never seen at Como Zoo before, despite having walked passed their labeled area for YEARS. The two foxes were prancing they were so happy that the temps were sub-zero windchills."

I couldn't get a good picture of the arctic foxes because probably all you'd see would be two eyes and a nose. They are MADE to perfectly blend with the snow, after all. But, they were very, very adorable. Potentially worth braving the temperatures to see, honestly. The Como Zoo is still kind of the sad zoo (as opposed to the MN Zoo, which we just call "the big zoo"), in that a lot of their "enclosures" are still little more than chain link fences, but they've been slowly renovating the place to improve the animals' quality of life. The foxes, unfortunately, are still in a very small-sh space, so that's why I'd say "potentially" worth a visit. Your enjoyment would totally depend on whether or not you can stand that kind of zoo.

Then, on Friday, Mason was officially home from school, but I let him sleep in while I met a friend on Friday to go to the Science Museum. As part of his job, Mason gets free passes to the museum and this friend had been looking for cheap/free things to do during the day. I ended up cancelling on my usual ladies to hang out with her, but I had previously planned to go on Tuesday, but that was the day the plumbing broke. What I would say about our trip to the museum was that, if you go, you totally should spend some time in the Race exhibit. It's... well, I mean, parts of it are heartbreaking and awful, but it's extremely well done. Anna and I probably spent the majority of our time in that room. It was a moderately quiet room, not being a favorite of the countless screaming argonauts (aka other people's children), which was also nice for us, as Anna is deaf/hard of hearing.

But, also, there are dinosaurs! This is a "compi" from Jurassic World (Compsognathus).

a Compi!  (Compsognathus)

Anna and I don't know each other terribly well--this is the third time we've done something together, though the first time it was just us. I would definitely hang out with her again. She's lovely company. 

In other news, I continue to try to find a plumber for our upstairs bathtub. The good news is that we have a fully functional bathroom on the first floor that has a tub, so we're not out anything while we figure out what we're doing. I had one set of plumbers out already, Ryan Plumbing, whose estimate was 1,500 - 2,000 bucks, as they figured they'd have to rip up the kitchen ceiling to get at all the pipes. Weld Plumbing called back and would like to wait and talk to their owner about whether or not they think they're the right people, which I told them was FINE as we're in a buyer's market, as we can just let it sit there until we get the right people with the right price. Weld was the first group who said that they thought there might be a way to McGyver it, if we wanted to try a fix for ourselves... which made me like them a bit more than the Ryan guys, but the chances of them calling back seemed kind of slim, you know? As soon as "I have to talk to the owner" comes out, it either means they think your job is too small for them or they otherwise don't want to do it at all.

BUT. I'm going to keep calling a couple of outfits every day because seriously, we have all the time we need to figure this out. It's a BIT WEIRD to take a full soaking bath downstairs while the rest of the family is hanging out in the living room, but it's definitely not the end of the world. 

I've been mostly keeping up with my spell of the day, but I'll catch up on posting about those the next entry. I've got to wrap this up as I need to run off to pick up Mason from his job in about five minutes.

Obon 2017

Aug. 20th, 2017 06:02 pm
lydamorehouse: (Renji 3/4ths profile)
 Eclipse? Shemclipse! Today was Como Park's annual Obon festival. Bon is, of course, celebrated differently here in the US and Canada than it is in Japan. If we had stayed until dusk as we have in past years, we would have seen the lantern lighting festival.  But, today is TOO HOT and we decided, instead, what we wanted to do was eat our way through the park.


shaved ice

We started with shaved ice (kakigōri) and octopus fritters (takoyaki).  Takoyaki is Mason and my ALL TIME favorite Japanese street food/appetizer.  We then when on to have 'burned chicken' (yakitori), several types of dumplings, and a few misses like the chicken sausage skewer.  I really wanted to get taiyaki, afish-shaped pancake, usually filled with adzuki, red bean paste--BUT the local vendors all make the taiyaki pancakes into ice-cream cones--and ice-cream is a no-go for me, alas.  

I stopped by the calligraphy booth to see my former-language instructor, Tetsuya and he wrote out 'rakuda' (camel) in Japanese for me.  (There's a story and it involves me breaking down and shouting in class, 'Exactly WHEN will I use the word, sensei??!!") There were a bunch of demonstrations, but it was ungodly humid and hot and so we watched a few taiko (the big drums) performances, but did I mention how miserable it was?  

So we raced back to the air-conditioned car and home.  
lydamorehouse: (more renji art)
Mason, Eleanor and I went to the "little" zoo yesterday (aka Como Zoo). We mostly just wandered around. Eleanor hadn't been to Como since they added the interpretative center, the rainforest walk, or expanded the polar bear experience. Mason and I hadn't yet seen the Gorilla Forest improvements. So, we did a lot of exploration.

When we first came in, a volunteer was showing off a hedgehog. OMG teh cute! Super-fast, too! Like a real life Sonic!

como zoo 002

The ostriches were being weird and weirdly cute, so I had to snap a couple of pictures of them:

como zoo 005

The gorilla area was much nicer. Previously, they had a sort of sad concrete environment and now they have a lot more room and a more natural looking habitat. The sun was hot so I sort of forgot to take many other pictures because we were hurry to find shade. I got a kind of crappy shot of the lion who was also trying to hide from the sun:

como zoo 003

My favorite part of the zoo is always the Japanese garden. Most of the rest of the pictures are from there. Mason bought a parasol from the gift shop. It has painted cherry blossoms on it. It'll be nice for tomorrow, which is Obon (the lantern lighting ceremony):

como zoo 012

como zoo 015

como zoo 018

como zoo 022

Ban Sai!

May. 14th, 2013 03:19 pm
lydamorehouse: (more renji art)
The Como Zoo has been doing a lot of renovation. One of the things they've added is a bonsai "garden." They always had a display, but they've arranged it now so that when you're head to the Japanese garden you stroll through a special gallery that displays not only the bansai, but also some of the traditional tea ceremony equipment for the tea hut they have. Some day, I'm going to register for one of their tea ceremonies. Maybe this year...

zoo and more 033

At any rate, Shawn took half a day off to spend with Mason and me, and we decided to check out the zoo. Of course today it decided to try to hit 90 degrees (F). I ended up taking a lot of pictures of the bonsai garden because not a lot was blooming yet in the Japanese garden (because...uh, it was snowing last week.)

Bonsai!
zoo and more 035

zoo and more 038

zoo and more 040

zoo and more 039

The garden itself is fairly lovely, though like I said, not a lot is blooming yet. It was funny because I kept forgetting that it was only last week that we were still shoveling, and I'd say things like, "Why don't they have the water for the seals out yet?" Oh... right! Or, "why aren't there more icecream stands ready yet?" Oh... right. I guess Minnesota winters are the kind of pain you forget.

Japanese Garden!
zoo and more 048

zoo and more 055

zoo and more 059

We walked around and looked at the animals a bit too, but most of the big cats were asleep in the sun. The ram was funny though. It really wanted to butt heads with someone, and there was a reindeer on the other side of its fence that it tried to engage. The reindeer yawned tauntingly, while the ram kept kind of rushing the fence a bit. It was funny, mostly because the reindeer couldn't have been less impressed.

In about a half hour, Mason and I are going to make our way over to the capitol to watch the governor sign the Marriage Equality Act bill into law. It should be quite the party. If I can, I'll try to get pictures of that too.
lydamorehouse: (Default)
Yesterday Mason and I had plans to meet some friends of ours at "the little zoo" (aka Como, as opposed to the "big zoo" the Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley). It was a bit drizzily when we started out at ten o'clock, but there are several indoor parts of the little zoo -- a short tropics trail and the Conservatory -- plus I figured none of us would melt. Besides, I've discovered something strange about myself. I don't mind getting soaked as long as rain doesn't hit my head. I brought my ball cap, so I was good to go. Mason had a rain coat with hood (and, briefly, he decided to be "fancy" and wore a Halloween wig of mine that is long black and pink hair. That got hot pretty quickly, though.)

We had a great time. We even got out to the Japanese garden, which is lovely, even in a slight rain. My favorite part, however, was the butterfuly garden. Como has one of those large log-shapped tents full of hundreds of varieties of butterflies and all their favorite plants to sit on and sip nectar from. Thanks to the slight drizzle all the butterflies were clinging to the undersides of trees or plants and were sitting perfectly still. We could get right up to them and really examine their wings and bodies. It was really amazing. The kids all borrowed my little digital camera and took a zillion pictures of all the butterflies... some of which are quite stunning. (I'm going to download them later today and get them up somewhere...) If you ever get the chance to go to a butterfly garden in a very light drizzle, do it. The butterflies are so much easier to really see! And there was this one tree that looked like it had burst forth in flowers, only each "flower" was unique and really a butterfly seeking shelter.

Wonderful!

We did managed to get drenched on the way back from the big cat house. Periodically during the day, the sky opened up and really let loose a deluge. Then it would go back to a light drizzle. For the most part, we lucked out and happened to be inside when the big dump happened, except for the last one, as I said. Mason and I were absolutely drenched just as we were headed to the car to go home.

All and all, though, a lovely day.

We got home in enough time to have a warm up bath and play a few video games before heading back out into the weather to pick up Mom from work. After dinner, I changed the fish tanks (after all, it was Thursday, fish tank day,) and as I did I thought about the sad tanks at the Aquatic House at the little zoo. They have some cool fish there, but I have to say that some of their choices seemed a bit irresponsible. Bat fish... fry at this point, given how small they are, which are going to very, very quickly out grow the tank they had them in. I suppose they give these guy to the big zoo when they out grow these tanks...but.... I worry people will see those and think, "Wow, I should get one of those for my tank at home!" Plus, long nose gar? (Not in the same tank, mind you, but those things get to be several FEET in length. If you want to see adult gar, go to the Underwater Adventure at the Mall of America.) The archer fish, however, were cool to see... but again pretty crowded. I understand why zoos do that, though. It's not much fun for most people to look in a tank and see only one or two fish. Anyway, it made me feel responsible for my own fish and so I made sure to scrub the glass free of algea and whatnot.

Today is probably going to be a quiet day. Mason woke up in the mood for dinosaurs so he's watching the BBC's "Walking with Dinosaurs." (With the subtitles, in English, on so he can read along to Kenneth Brannaugh's narration. I once asked him about this habit of his, and he said he like to be able to see how to spell the dinosaurs' names versus how they're pronounced.)

Perhaps I'll even get some writing done today.

Fingers crossed!

April 2019

S M T W T F S
 1 234 56
789 10111213
1415 1617 181920
21222324252627
282930    

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Apr. 18th, 2019 08:43 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios