Monday, August 21, 2017


It's been a crazy, busy couple of weeks!

The whirlwind started with a bit of unpleasantness (see "Spelunking in my Colon" two posts ago), but  got better day by day once I got out of that body shop.

Youngest daughter Sarah arrived with her family Thursday a week ago.  Of course we started our time together by taking grandkids Gabriel and Claire on an obligatory run to Target.  One never can know if OUR Target may perhaps have a few deals that THEIR Target does not.  So, we had to check.    It's a mystery how one can enter that place needing nothing and exit a few hours later having laid down $100 or more bucks.

Two days later, middle daughter Lindsay arrived with Ellie.  We decided to make a major family entourage to the nearest amusement park, Knoebel's Grove, in Elysburg, PA.  The wondrous thing about this part is the no-entry fee.  Patrons just buy books of ride tickets.  Any unused ride tickets can be saved indefinitely for future park visits.

Even though 6-year-old Ellie offered plenty of courage as a co-rider, 3-year-old Gabriel was quite hesitant about many of the rides.  He was able to find a few that tripped his happiness centers, though, including the tiny train ride and a few other kiddie rides.

Monday and Tuesday of last week was our scheduled 2017 Girls Getaway.  The plan was to head north a few hours into New York and see how our favorite giraffe, April, and her baby are doing. Although not all the ladies and girls of the family could make it, five of us piled into the vehicle and headed on our way - Lindsay and daughter Ellie, Sarah and baby Claire, and me.  For a one night adventure, we had an overly ridiculous amount of baggage and road snacks.

On the way we made several stops to let the kiddos out to burn off some energy.  At a playground we found numerous painted rocks, which Ellie re-hid in new locations.  This current fad of painting rocks and hiding them for others to find always gives me a smile.  I will be doing more painting and hiding of rocks with my grandkids.

We made a planned stop at Salerno's, an Old Forge-style pizza joint.  Although the pizza came out looking quite tasty, it was a mutual vote of thumbs down on the taste of the cheese.  Very sticky and pastes onto the teeth and roof of mouth, annoyingly so.

After arrival at the Animal Adventure Park in Harpersville, NY, we purchased our entry tickets and several buckets of food to hand-feed the animals.  The highest building in the park was an easy indicator for me as to the location of the giraffes.

Oliver, the male giraffe and April's significant other, was out in the corner of the yard, avoiding people.  The staff on hand told us he doesn't like people, quick movements, or being touched by humans.  Ok then.  He didn't get any carrots from me.

Inside the building in her pen, April, on the other hand, seemed to welcome the company (and the carrots).  In fact, she even took a carrot right out of MY mouth.  I laughed at the tickling whiskers of my first giraffe kiss.

The giraffe tender on duty there allowed me to come around the back corner of April's pen to get a close up look at April's young male baby, Tajili.  I am pleased to say that both April and her young one are doing well and the baby is already about 8 feet tall, judging by how it looked when it stood up in front of me.  It was born just back in April during the Easter weekend.

Baby "Tajili"
After returning back home from our Girls Getaway, we took the littlest ones to the Rolling Hills Red Deer Farm in Catawissa, PA.  They offer a fun-filled one hour tractor-pulled wagon tour of the property and its various male, female, and baby red deer pens.  The kids love feeding the deer biscuits from a bucket.

Gabriel loved feeding the red deer
One ambitious stag took a bite out of my backside while trying to get at a biscuit that was laying there behind me.  The chomp occurred just a moment before the tour guide warned us to watch for the deer with White Tag #125.  Apparently he's a nipper.  The deer were all hungry and approached the wagon for treats with very little coaxing.

Many of the stags are in the phase where the velvet is coming off their antlers.  They appeared to have gross, bloody strings hanging from all over their racks.  Although I've been at this deer farm numerous other times, I haven't seen this phase before.

Finally on Friday, I picked up the grand twins to give them their final 2016 Christmas present - a trip to Lancaster to the Sight and Sound Theater to see the current production, Jonah.  The humongous whale "swam" just inches right over their heads, and they loved it.  The special effects of the show left them speechless at times.

Afterwards, we found a neat 50's style diner where we giggled about how bad we were.  We had decided to eat dessert for dinner.  The girls had their jollies posing in the vintage cut-outs on the property before we headed home.

After their all day drive I got the word that Sarah and family had arrived home safely.  Little Claire was so happy to be reunited with her buddy, Snickers the family cat.

Claire and her buddy Snickers
Now I'm back to the routine, too.  I'm pushing to finish writing my book proposal for my agent.  As Charles Spurgeon once said, "By perseverance, the snail reached the ark."

That's me.  I will get there.