Showing posts with label Toledo Zoo. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Toledo Zoo. Show all posts

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Thankfully November

I love November.  I love it so much I was born in November.  Good planning on my part, eh?  Then my first niece was due on my birthday, but decided to have her own, so her big day is 10 days after mine.

Sally Seam Rip-her with her Pi clock.  Yep, a math geek. And she looks more like me than her Mom, my Sister.

 Then I fell in love with a guy whose birthday is in November.
DH with our grand-nephew who isn't crying.  DH usually puts most babies into screaming fits. This was a first.

 One of my grand nieces, Miss D, was born on my birthday.  Took her a while to grasp the part about we "share" a birthday.
Miss D is pretty much camera shy.  This is one of the few pics I have of her.  She's in the red, on the receiving end of a hug.

Yep, I love November.

Not November, but Oct. 31, 2011.  The only Trick-or-treaters we've ever had.  Sally and her sister Shay, with their kids.  Sally is holding Shay's older son, Lil'Ripper is in the middle, and Shay has her younger giraffe, er son.

If you're one of my fb peeps, you know that every day in November, I (along with lots of other folks) post at least one thing a day for which we are thankful.  Despite all the pains in the buns that come from having kids with special needs, we still have much to be thankful for.  And I count you among them. 

In other news, DD's class was here yesterday and had a nice time.  His trains were a big hit, as usual.  And our Girl's night was loverly, too.  I wish I had a Friday night that we could get together, but that won't happen for a while, because it's time for. . . .

Swanton Area Railroad and Model Club, six track O gauge layout.

Toledo Zoo~~Natural History Museum, turned train station.

DD 3 or 4 years ago.  My little guy.

. . . trains.  Lots and lots of model trains.  This group has been one of DD's fav's and I'd go almost so far as to say, a savior for him.  They accept him as their own.  We all need a group like that.

Anywho, this year the Club will be doing multiple layouts again.  We'll do O-gauge at the Zoo, beginning next Sunday when we haul the modules in, then spend the next 4 days putting up the houses and stuff, and the annual painting of the fence. This display stays up for 8 weeks, and we run trains every night from 4 to 9 or 4 to 10.  Our family covers Tuesdays.

While this is going on, we set up the the Homesprung Holidays at Wildwood Preserve.  That runs for 10 days, from 10 until 8 or 9.

But wait!  There's more!  The HO division (smaller trains = Half O gauge, get it, HO) will set up their stuff for two separate one-day shows in Swanton, and then at the Children's Wonderland in Sylvania, Ohio.  This is the first time to run there.  It's open from around 11 to 8 or something and runs for a couple of weeks, so DD and I will take 2 afternoon shifts.  I already let this teacher know that he'll be 'working' for at least 4 days in the next two months.  One of the other club members will sign his work-study papers, so he won't be counted as absent, we hope.  (It's not like we care about that, though.)

I've been going thru my toys to see what I'll use for my modules this year.  Probably pretty much the same as the past two years, I think.  We'll see.

So to make a short story long, November is a fun month for us.  Yep, the weather usually sucks, like today when it's cold, nasty, and dreary and the days are the shortest, but for us, it's our uber-busy, holiday month.  In December we sit back and enjoy the views, old movies, and family and friends. And resting is what January is for.   Oh.  And of course starting two new quilting block-of-the-month clubs! 

Monday, January 9, 2012

And We Go On

Services for Ranger Margaret Anderson will be tomorrow afternoon.  I've had a weird sense of euni since her murder, partly because I'm so far away there's nothing I can do, partly because I've been re-winding all the times that DH or our family were in some type of real or perceived danger, and partly because life goes on for the whole rest of the world, while it screeched to a halt for the Anderson family.  After my Mom died, I was pissed/annoyed/dismayed that the rest of the world didn't come to a halt.  The whole rest of the world remained the same for those folks.  Seeing people do normal everyday things irritated me.

And yet, here I am, doing the normal, everyday things of our life.  Very unsettling place to be emotionally.

So the normal stuff I've been doing includes a sort of clean out--the Living room is almost back to it's wonderful serene state, and most of the Christmas things are being put away.  I have a bunch of winter stuff that I leave out.... snowmen, cardinals, several sets of lights in funny places.  Okay, not so funny, but still up for us to enjoy until we start enjoying those longer days of spring.

And for many, many folks in our neck of the woods, the total lack of winter so far has left everyone off kilter.  We're all waiting for winter.  We're currently in a stretch of 50, yep 50 degree days.  It should be 25 or something.... yuck. I must say the only time I didn't complain about it--in fact appreciated it, was yesterday, when we took down the train layout at the Toledo Zoo.  My son, DD the Younger, is a rabid rail fanner (even now, he's watching train cams, and plotting which model train engine he should buy ~~read Mom buys~~for him. ("Mom," says he, "it's a limited edition!")

So here are some pics of train layouts and displays from this winter.
The magic starts here, at the WPA built Museum of Science at the Toledo Zoo.  As well as the Great Hall, where we set up the trains, there's a balcony meeting space, and a fantastic auditorium.  It's a marvelous building.

 Entrez vous
Part of my section (on the top) that I call "Silent Night, Holy Night."  The Star-on-a-Stick is new this year. I really like it.

Three of my 6 churches I used this year.

My little Polar Bear family.

Da bears.

These are some of the folks who make up the O gauge division of the Swanton Train Club.  Dan C., Kurt B, Larry W,  the O gauge 'suprintendent', Jerry, and DD the Younger.

A view from the balcony.

Bird's eye view.  We run 6 tracks on this layout.  I think it's 12 by 26 this year.  We'd like to make it 8 feet longer!

Behind the scenes.... time to put stuff away...... it takes 5 people 5 days at 6 or 7 hours a day to set it up.  A day and a half to take down....

You should see all the wires underneath. In addition to the wiring needed to run the trains, nearly each building on the layout has it's own plug.

Heavy duty transformers, called ZW's run the tracks.  We use one for each of the 6 tracks.

The skeleton of the section I help decorate.

Ron M. is the Chief Electrician and Bottle Washer on the crew.

And now, I'm just sitting and enjoying our tree with just the lights on it.  The sun is shining brightly in the windows surrounding it, so it rather glows all by itself.  We'll take it down... soon... and put it on the back deck for the birds to use for cover, as they hoover up the seed we put out for them.

So if I neglected to tell you before, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Winter Break

I couldn't bear the thought of spending 10 days home with the boys, and having them spend all day telling me they wanted to be somewhere~~anywhere~~else.  That comes under the heading "the grass is always greener....."  So I surprised them with a mini-vacation to.... wait for it..... Columbus Ohio.

Yeah, that's basically pretty pathetic, but it was very do-able so we did.

Columbus is the capital of Ohio, and the kids have done drive-bys of about a dozen other state capitals, but not ours.  My bad.  They did attend the 200th celebration of Ohio's statehood by attending events in the first capital, Chillicothe.  That was a fun year, 2003.  Except for going to our lake in Jackson, Michigan, all of our travels that year were in Ohio.  But we still managed to miss Columbus.  Frankly, it ain't that great of a town.  For a hundred years the only things that were there were state government related stuff and The Ohio State University.  Big whoop.  (Sorry to all you OSU types.)

The Columbus Zoo, of Jack Hanna fame, is there.  I've heard lots about it, but had never been there.  I gotta tell ya, I'm not that impressed.  Like so many zoos now, you can walk from stem to stern and never see an animal. Weird.  There was also a lot of 'built environment' compared to the number of animals, which of course includes the ubiquitous snack shacks of every imaginable kind.  (They even have beer!) Zoo pics are pretty hard to get right, but I managed a few.
Huge fake moose.

Real moose-let.

Those are some bigass feets. I like the reflection of DH's hat, too.

Which is scarier?

Hat hair.

Best pic of the day.  Zoo pics are hard to take.

DD, the younger.

FTD, the elder.
So now we've been there.  We started our trip with the guided tour of the Capital building.  The boys put up with it.  Every time the guide said, "Does any one have any questions?", FTD went into Rainman mode and told her some totally unrelated Ohio factoid he has stored in his weirdly wired data bank. That's my boy all right.

Best part of the trip was dinner with our 'old' neighbors.  They were our closest neighbors for 18 years, and since The Dad got a super-duper promotion (can you say General?), it meant a move to Columbus.  We've known it's been in the works, but this summer they all moved down there.  I told The Mom that I was kinda glad I wasn't here for the actual moving day, because I would have been bawling my eyes out.  In addition to being great neighbors (mind you now, their house was a half mile from us), their son was in Scouts with FTD and a good friend, and their younger daughter is one of my honorary grand-daughters.  What a sweetie.  I made her this little quilt last spring.

Since I fussy cut the material, I have quite a bit left so I made her a relax pack with it, along with one for her Mom and Big Sis.  I do so miss them.

I've got lots more completely useless info to write about, but I'll call it quits for now.  It's time to get ready for tomorrow's Audubon Christmas Bird Count after all! And then it'll be time for Gaelyn's cyber New Year's Masquerade Ball.  Did I mention that I have dibs on the Building History Museum in DC?

Friday, November 12, 2010

Another Birdie Day

This could become addicting--siting on the back deck while the birds buzz my head. It was so warm again today that I spent as much time outside as I could. That included catching up on some reading on the back deck. The birds must really be hungry because they just couldn't stay away. This is a pic from last winter, by the way, but I don't have any with no snow. I was quite surprised at the activity~~almost frenzied. And the birds really could have cared less about me sitting there. In the winter we let the kids sit on the deck with seed in their hats and wait for the chickadees to dine. I've rearranged the feeders in my never ending attempt to keep the squirrels and raccoons out. So far--no coons. They must not be desperate yet. But now the chipmunks have invaded. If they weren't so dang cute.

Later in the afternoon I was doing some computer work on the front porch, and saw the hawk cruise through the woods just across the street. Couldn't id it, but I'm guessing red-tail. It's been hanging around so I'm hoping it stays all winter.

On another note, the Whitehouse Library Holiday Home Tour is one month from today--had to believe with such great weather. And Sunday we set up the trains for the Toledo Zoo Lights Before Christmas. Way before Christmas this year!