Roadside Attractions

Here’s a bit of catch-up-doing from the last several months, a whirlwind of roadside attractions, mostly pleasant, and a few, not so much.

Back in August, we hosted our own roadside attraction with a go at a super-belated, afore-mentioned home warming party. Hey, anything to justify a large arrangement of glorious sunflowers! And mounds of food, too. There was much ado, including hours spent (thanks, Jess) rolling up bits of brownie into little balls and then rolling them in cinnamon sugar or powdered sugar for a dessert entitled Poo-Poo Surprise (for our aunt, who has an abundance of her own kind of poo-poo surprise out on her animal farm). My sister made her specialty, Weenies with Coats, and I covered the chicken, pasta and salad categories. The whole affair cemented the fact that I absolutely love entertaining for masses of people!

Vase of Sunflowers

Food Buffet

After much fun was had on a canoe trip at the UW Waterfront Activities Center with my friend Shannon, I’d been itching to return, taking anyone and everyone I could get to jump in a boat and paddle through canals, under overpasses and out into the deep and rougher waters. However, a trip with my sister turned out to be overly abundant in water. As the raindrops began to fall, Bean was urging me to lead us back in towards the dock, but I insisted that it was just sprinkling, nothing of significance. We continued on, paddling our way over to an inlet where a small beaver dam was nestled, and promptly saw a critter. A beaver? Noooooo, it was the largest beaver-sized flippin’ rat I’ve ever seen. I think it ate the beaver. A half hour later, we made our way back, as the “sprinkling” picked up and quickly turning to a downpour. Gonna hold off until spring to pick the paddles back up again.

Canoeing

With September, came our annual trip to the Puyallup Fair! I seem to love it more each year that passes as the memories stack up and the nostalgia builds. I don’t understand the kinda folks who call the fair a waste of money, as there are dozens of free things to attend and do. The fun lies in your level of participation.

Roberto the Magnificent

That’s Roberto the Magnificent, formerly part of a juggling duo that has been featured at the fair for over ten years. Though partnerless this time around, he was just as charismatic and goofy, if not more so. A good thing! He peddled about on an impossibly tall unicycle paying his own personal tribute to the King in between acts to drum up an audience. Bean was her own attraction of sorts, as she lugged the Boo’s around, that is, Boo and Boo II, as previously mentioned in blogs past. Little girls pointed and waved as we made our way around the grounds. :)

Monster's Inc. Boo Dolls

The food, the most fabulous and yes, not so good for you, food to be had in the way of fair food. Here, my dad’s noshed on onion burger, no cheese, extra mustard.

Puyallup fair Onion Burger

Followed quickly by fruit-on-a-stick, strawberries, yum! Currently, in my top five of all-time favorite foods, chocolate, or not.

Fruit On a Stick

My mom and I took advantage of one of the last days of sunshine with a walk in the rose gardens at the Pt. Defiance Zoo. My mom got caught up in snapping photos and meandered a bit too close to a Samoan wedding party. If I wasn’t so busy snapping my own shots below, I could have warned her that she was backing into their back row of outdoor seating. With the men dressed in long white shorts and deep red button-downed shirts, and the women coordinated in red and white sarongs, all with lei necklaces, they were a delight to view.

Bumble Bee In Rose

I love this shot with the bumblebee peeping out, the little guys look like they’re made of velvet.

Sun Rays On Roses

This is one of the many lovely works of chalk art found out along the Tacoma UW campus pathways last month. Gone now, I’m sure, what with our massive torrents of rain as of late.

Tacoma's Chalk the Walk

I was a roadside attraction myself recently. Or rather, my car was. I was dreadfully sick, rare, as I can still count on two hands the number of times I’ve been sick over the last ten years which makes up for the teen years, I suppose, when I was always seemingly under the weather. I’d been tossing and turning all night and into the early morning, having just begun to dose off, at last, when the sound of a car horn went off. And kept going off. A huge groan as I dragged myself out of bed to open the blinds and see if anyone else was at their window peering out to see the nut whose alarm was blaring. It was a constant tone, none of that patterned honking that I’ve previously heard from somewhere out in the parking lot. Between the congestion built up in my head and the ear plugs in my nightstand, I was able to fall to sleep shortly after 4:30 a.m., a while after the alarm had begun, with only a faint drone of the still blaring horn in the background.

I had no voice, whatsoever

I abruptly woke to my cell phone ringing, noticing the sound of the continuing horn, when there was a knock at the door. I stumbled out of bed, grabbing the phone and with blurry eyes, tried to make out who was calling, as I went to the front door. Opening the door to find a young boy standing there, I saw that it was the apartment complex calling. The boy asked if I owned the little red car outside with the car alarm going off since early this morning. I opened my mouth to tell him that, yes, I own a little red car, but that, no, it doesn’t have an alarm, only to find that I had no voice, whatsoever. In the past, I’ve lost my voice in such a way that it cracks on every fifth word, or so, or deepens so that I sound like a bullfrog, but this time, there was nothing at all. He stepped back a bit, and I closed the door, shaking my head.

Back at the window, I saw a mob of kids standing around along the sidewalk near my car, waiting for the school bus. Dilemma: Fifteen torturous minutes left until the bus arrives … let the kids wait it out, or go down to check out why the heck my car is sounding its barbaric yawp? I feared facing all those little people without the vocal ability to apologize as I walked, to explain that I have no alarm, and have no idea why my car is upset. I chose the way of the chicken. Baquock! I felt a tinge bad leaving those kids out there to steep in that horrid sound awhile longer. Some had been pacing, hands over their ears, while others lamented, “Please! Make it stop!” 

Then, then, I recalled the summer’s worth of loopy children yelling at each other late into the night, barking like animals, screaming like banshees, you know, normal kid’s stuff, but without the supervision of parents reigning them in, because they lounged in their master bedrooms unaffected facing outward from the building, completely on the other side. The kids often awoke bright and too early to resume the night’s activity. Sooo, a little sweet revenge. By way of natural occurrence and therefore, I plead not evil.

I sheepishly waved him over

Once the kids piled on the bus, I timidly approached my car, unhappy to see that a young guy was making his way out of the building across the way and would likely intersect with me and my car. Speeding up wasn’t gonna help and walking way slow wasn’t either, so I bit the bullet as they say, and continued to my car. The guy called out, “Annoying isn’t it?” with a smile on his face and a nod to my car. The smile was all I needed and I sheepishly waved him over so that he could hear my attempt at whispering an explanation. After I told him how I spent part of the early morning completely ticked at the nut with the blaring car alarm, I discovered, I was that nut. A little hoopla and further maneuvering, and the worn out horn fuse was removed leaving, sweet, sweet silence.

Here are a few shots of the abundant fall decor, currently all over our place, in honor of the fast-approaching Thanksgiving holiday. Come Friday, Christmas explodes! Can’t wait for my first super tall tree. Thank you, high ceilings.

Autumn Decorations

Autumn Decorations

My dad has a mild thing for politics, oddly, more so for the buildings in which the politics reside, all that marble and regal decor, he says, so down to Olympia to visit our state capitol, we ventured recently. In the library, I found a quiet spot near a large window at the end of several rows of shelves filled to the ceiling with law books. I chose volume 716 from a nearby set (my 5th favorite number). My phone began ringing and I looked up to see Bean standing on the floor above me, leaning over the railing. She lifted Puppy D., her 22 yr old stuffed dog from her bag, and because, try as we may, being grown up just doesn’t have the same fun without a little childish play interjected, down Puppy D. dropped for a visit. We spent a few good minutes tossing that dog up and down between floors, trying to capture a good shot of her in transit, taking care not too be overheard by the stern woman sitting aways away at the desk out front.

Olympia Capitol Building

Stuffed Toy Falling From Above

Among other roadside attractions, this here toilet was out for the taking one day …

Toilet Alongside Road With Free Sign

…..as well as this squirrel. The little guy, was down for the count, as though he was just taking a short nap, rather than having croaked. A bit grody maybe. But, fascinating. Awww, grody and fascinating … Stephen King …

Dead Squirrel

Yes, Bean and I went to hear the man speak a few weeks back, the day after Halloween to be specific. Wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but was pleasantly surprised to find that he was completely real. He donned a pair of worn-in blue jeans, classic black Converse and a faded black t-shirt. There was a podium in the middle of the stage, but he chose to wander as much as the none-too-cooperative clip microphone allowed. He opened with a mild rant on his loathing of cell phones, and continued on in run-on ramblings that all somehow led back into a brief reading from his latest work, Lisey’s Story. He answered audience questions, all with a self-mocking humor, not too much mind you, that had me thinking he could do stand-up on occasion. The audience apparently agreed, with their frequent laughter.

The next time I thought of it, of course

Two highlights: He shared a time that he was at the market when a hobbly, little, old lady made her way up to him from behind a cart and said, “I know who you are! You’re that Stephen King.” To which he replied, “Gee, thanks, guess I don’t have to worry about figuring out who I am TODAY!” She then said, “You write all those horrible stories about evil. Why don’t you write something nice like that Shawshank Redemption?” He said, “Well, I did. I wrote that.” In a huff, she hobbled away, pushing her cart and shaking her head. Love that! He talked about how he’s always been one to check behind the door, look in the car backseat, and that hmmm, maybe we’d be wise to do the same upon leaving that night and heading home. He spun this great “what if” situation where you found yourself being told about all the potential doom to be had on the way. The next time I thought of it, of course, was driving to a friend’s house on a stormy night, to babysit in a dark house. Sure, I laughed at remembering the humor in having Mr. King spin a tail of heebie-jeebies, but you bet your boots that I checked behind the door that night and the backseat, too. ♦

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