Monday, September 3, 2007

Long Weekend in Boise

In case you were wondering, it's hot here too. Today it got up to 101, which tied the record for hottest September 3rd.

Let's see. For me the weekend officially starts on Friday evening. I went to the gym and spent too much time on the weight machines and ended up doing very little else. I thought the place would be a wasteland on a Friday night, but it was not the case. I call it "the gym" but it's the YMCA. That's like "the gym" but way, way better. If I had a mind to, I could play racquetball, climb the climbing wall, swim, shoot some hoops, or do any number of other fitness-related activities. I can almost guarantee that I will never do any of those things, but it's nice to know I could.

All the people who work at the Y are extremely friendly and they look like a random sample of people rounded up from a neighborhood, rather than a random sample of people selected from a trendy LA night club. And to REALLY let you know you're not at Gold's Gym, the closing announcement goes something like this: "The time is now 9:30 and we will be closing in 30 minutes. Please think about making arrangements for getting home. There is a phone in the lobby for you to use if you need it." Boise doesn't feel like home yet, but I get a big dose of community at the Y, and I love it.

On Saturday we cleaned house and cooked for our dear and only Idaho friends, all the more dear for being the only. I had been hankering for Shrimp and Fennel Risotto, and since I was the cook, that's what we had. I tried new recipes for salad and dessert, courtesy of crazed Disney princess Food Network chef Giada de Laurentiis. The Endive and Frisee Salad with Oranges was great (honey in the vinaigrette and freshly toasted hazelnuts were key elements) as were the Berries with Mascarpone and Meringue. I couldn't find meringue cookies so I substituted shortbread with stem ginger. I went a wee bit crazy buying fresh berries at the farmer's market that morning. End of the summer blow-out, I rationalized.

Sunday? Eh. I had hoped for more from it, but that's a consumer mentality, I suppose. When Shaun went to pick Nels up from Sunday School, his teacher reported that Nels had been "very very silly." Oh dear. When Nels gets silly, it's just shy of mental. It was yucky hot and we lazed away the afternoon and ended up a little cranky and stir crazy. So we decided to venture out to dinner. As a family. Something we don't do often.

I probably won't eat at Highland Hollow again, unless I'm just going for fries and a beer. I really wanted Hot Wings. We ordered hot wings. What we got were two pounds of pale (creepy pale!) bumpy-skinned chicken wings tossed in what Shaun described as salsa. To me it was like chicken wing cacciatore. There was no glistening, almost neon sauce, only mealy tomato sauce. Wow, were we bummed.

All was not lost. We redeemed our evening at the Hyde Park soda fountain Goody's. (Our Bend friends know it.) They make their own ice cream and sauces, and the place was packed at 8:30. Kids in bathing suits, kids in pajamas. It was great. I had a sundae of chocolate almond ice cream with bittersweet fudge sauce, and it was as good as the chicken wings were bad. We bought Nels an entire sundae of his own, even though we knew he'd never come close to finishing it. It was such a pleasure for us to see his face when it arrived and to watch him enjoy it. Perhaps the way we felt contains a bit of what God feels when he gives us something good.

Monday was a bonus day. We had a date with the Hamiltons at the zoo. I think we all held out quite valiantly as the day got hotter and hotter. Willem actually seemed to be more into the animals than Nels. He said "monkey" about 500 times. He appears to be set to some strange sort of internal monkey bearings, because every time I let go of his hand he would start off in the direction of the gibbon cages, saying "monkey...monkey...monkey." The creepiest moment of the day was definitely when the 16 inch long legless lizard (basically a snake with a lizard head) reared up and expressed enough interest in Willem that he took several steps backward. I particularly enjoyed the meerkats, lolling about in the sun and the sand like sailors recovering from a particularly festive shore leave.

Willem was more impressed by this tiny tiger that he could sit on than by the real one whose head was almost as big as Willem's entire person.

Here's the obligatory "boys riding the Komodo Dragon" photo. Really we were too hot and busy wrangling sleepy kids to take pictures.

The remainder of our Labor Day was pretty much taken up by more naps and lazing. I'm going to blame it on the heat. It's got to be good for something.


Anonymous said...

Sure's been hot here, too! Finally better today. Wish I lived closer to y'all - it would be so fun to join you on such outings and experience the kids' joy. Thanks to your blog - I get a glimpse of their wonder. The next best thing.

Gretchen said...

Great pictures. The boys look hot and tired and happy.
Anders and I braved the Santa Ana zoo a couple of weeks ago on a particularly hot and humid day. All of the like 3 animals were hiding in their caves.