Sunday, June 5, 2011

Formal Gardens, science play, and other stuff

Oh yes, blogging. Its been awhile.  Have I been busy... well sort of.  Not really.  I've just been spending that "free time" reading the new york times or on face book.  It has been nice weather, so the garden and lawn account for some.  I've been doing fun stuff with my little star.  The weather is good so I feel obligated to do stuff outside with him.

This weekend we got to the Schnormeier gardens twice.  It's only open once a year, and I'd never seen it. This year its free, but last year apparently admission money went to a good cause.  I think its reasonable for them to ask, but I never heard about in any previous year.  What is it?  Well a local rich guy (retired CEO of Jeldwen) constructed this garden in "asian" style.  Its got pretty lily ponds, rocks, waterfalls, teahouses, a bridges... well its pretty pleasant in a kind of manicured sort of way that seems rather out of place here in rural ohio.

I was sort of shocked at how my son responded to the waterfalls- he thought they were the greatest thing on earth.  I thought they were well, not quite as dramatic or nice as natural waterfalls (though pleasant all the same)- my husband said that my attitude was snotty and he's right.  I apologize.  The gardens were really pleasant and a nice change from rural ohio.  It made me realize how privileged I am to have grown up in the Fingerlakes where natural bubbling brooks, and water falling and gorges are just normal scenery that do not require bringing in and constructing rocks and noisy pumps.  I was sad that my son does not enjoy the same privilege- and I'm sure he will enjoy our visit to Ithaca later this summer.  We'll make sure he gets to see lots of natural waterfalls.

It's always saddened me that this part of Ohio, while pleasant, does not have the dramatic scenery that I grew up with.  It also doesn't have the Cornell Plantations, which is the closest thing to this garden I can think of.  The plantations has gardens, which I know take a lot of maintenance, but somehow they look more natural.  They are more full of things (perhaps just more mature) so there are not areas that you can tell somebody had to spray a lot of herbicide to keep it weed free.  They just use a ton of mulch.

I recently saw pictures of the Ithaca's community parade, and I ... well its just hard to picture some of the stuff happening here, and that makes me sad and wish I were there.  I saw a new logo which I think sums it up the bleeding heart liberal that I seem to be aspire to be.  Ithaca's logo has always been (at least in my memory), "Ithaca's GORGES" a pun on its natural beauty.  The new logo I notices was "Ithaca's Generous", which as I see it, says it all.  In Ithaca there are tons of groups dedicated to helping others.  There are here too.   But the political ambiance is so different.  Here our school levy didn't pass.  Here we have an extreme republican governor.  I was trying to think of the words to describe the difference, but I'm falling short.

Anyway, back to why we went to the gardens twice:
So I took my son the the playground, and was planning to take him to the grocery store afterward, but I forgot my wallet.  Oops.  I had been planning to take him to the gardens in the afternoon... so he could fall asleep on the way.  So we went after the play ground.  We had to park in the middle of nowhere- I couldn't believe how many cars were there.  So we had to walk a long ways and down a big hill to get there.  Needless to say we didn't get very far before I suggested we go back- my little star was tired and didn't quite make it back up the hill.   And yes, he did fall asleep on the way to the grocery store in the afternoon... after refusing to even go upstairs for quiet time.  I stopped the car in the shade and let him nap.  I read a book.

So, that's why we had to go back to the gardens today.  He really wanted to see those waterfalls again.  We walked a long way, and he did really well.  I didn't have to carry him at all; we got to see most all of it.

Yesterday I did an event for the science play space, but it was rather disappointingly attended.  I don't feel that this was exactly our fault- this was an event we did because a performing arts group had suggested we do it after their program, and their attendance was so low I was glad I'd brought my son. (He was one of three kids).  By the way, the program was pretty good.  Some kids are missing out.  Still, it was a beautiful day, so who wants to be inside?  Well, we still have the stuff and ideas for another event, so all is not lost.  And for me, well, my kid got to do the fun stuff.

We also had a table the night before at the first friday thing.  I wasn't there, but I'm guessing that was much more attended.  Luckily one of the organizers decided to answer my emails at the end of the week.

When my little star is in playcare I've been gardening, going to the gym, mowing, getting a teeny bit of work writing done on science experiments, thinking (a bit unsuccessfully) about dinner... and then I go pick him up.  Did I mention, he's going to bed really late (like 9:00 if he's had a nap?)  This late bedtime cuts down on time for other stuff, and I've been getting to bed really late.

My experiments and other fun science:
Did you know its incredibly easy to show the earth's magnetic field with a magnet, a needle, a bowl of water and styrofoam?  I was amazed.

Or that you can siphon water with a DRY paper towel (admittedly it takes several days).  It works a bit faster with a wet one.

If you try to grow sugar crystals and leave your solution out to grow it will attract ants?  Maybe salt crystals would be a better option.

Put drops of food coloring in a shallow saucer of milk and add a drop of soap- wow, enjoy the pretty colors!

Sugar cubes are hard to find in Central OH, but our local convenience store carries them...apparently I am not the first to use them for a science experiment.

I always thought it was exaggeration to say that the washing machine ate your socks.  I thought it meant you lost them in the process.  I mean small child socks are really small.
If your fancy front loading washing machine suddenly has strange codes and won't open, suggest to your plumber husband that it might be fixable. (I didn't actually say anything, he just looked into it)  In fact with a little research he figured out how to clean the trap on the drain pipe of it, and lo an behold, at least two socks that were not exactly intact, a penny, a tack,... well, it really did eat the socks!  Thank you my sweet man for fixing it!!!

Little Star is unfortunately not potty trained yet.  I thought we were making progress this week, but all that remains is that he does actually seem to WANT to wear underwear.  But he still will not use the potty away from home, and its still a negotiation to get him even to sit on it a lot of the time.  And he won't ask.

OK, one more thought, I came across a business that sets up dinner dates in Chicago.  They set you up with a random group of people (actually not sure if its random).  How cool, a way to meet new people.  It will be decades before we get something like that around here.

OK, I WILL get to bed before 11 pm.  I will. I will.

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