29 August 2008

State Fair: Day 9

Today Bella and I tried something different. Instead of going to the Fair immediately upon waking, we went to the Fair at lunchtime! We arrived and went straight for a strawberries and cream Crepe (still, I dare suggest, the best food at the fair). Bella oinked so much of it that next year I will have to consider us each getting our own.

Then I asked Bella what she wanted to do. She wanted to "see the animals." OK! Now we're talking! Pigs, cows, horses? No, she wanted to see the giraffe. Luckily, I am very smart (!) and remembered the giraffe topiary at the base of the Space Tower.

Then we rode the giant slide:





After that, we headed over to create our master piece at the Spin-a-Paint booth. We were right next to a guy who spin-a-painted a frisbee and mentioned a couple times that he "does oils." I thought Bella's painting looked just as good.

We watched the parade and listened to some music and called it a day. It was so absurdly crowded, I couldn't believe it wasn't an attendance record.

Someone recently asked me what my favorite free part of the fair is. I wrote them this haiku in explanation.

Salsa Chopper Guy

Chunky red and hot
Whirring, spinning, chop chop chop
Served with a chip.

State Fair: Day 8

I was pretty pooped tonight after a long day at work and then painting the bedroom when I got home. But I knew I always regret it if I don't go when I have a chance, so I headed over solo. I got to shop the whole grandstand and see a couple other things that are fun to do without a stroller. Then I met up with some others and we snacked and played around.

Battering the deep-fried twinkies Grandstand Leprechaun Legs

The fireworks were the best ever. Great company and mini donuts made the moment even sweeter.

28 August 2008

State Fair: Day 7

Today was just lunch at the fair. But I managed to squeeze in some socializing and a quick tour of the Eco Experience building. I had the footlong pizza on a stick from Green Mill and it is delicious! I also got the inside scoop on the new "Norwegian Cheese Curds." According to the lady in the booth, they use a sweeter, lighter batter, white cheddar, and serve them with a lingonberry dipping sauce. I was able to try a co-worker's and they were great. Or as a true Norwegian would say, they were "not too bad."

It turned out to be a little drizzly in the evening, which I usually love at the fair. But mommy duty calls and I had to spend the evening away. I hope you had fun, all you lucky rainy fair goers!

26 August 2008

State Fair: Day 6

Today I was a little worried that Bella would groan when I said we were going to the fair. But instead she cheered! She definitely enjoys the fair as much as I do. Today we went straight to Buni's Buns to get a big caramel roll, which Bella was almost too excited too eat (almost). Then we headed to the swine barn to get our pig ears and see some piggies.

Pig Hat

Me: "Do you think these pigs eat pancakes?"
Bella: "NO!! Pancakes are for toddlers."

Then we stopped in the cow barn and got to see a cow getting a haircut. Complete with blow dryer! Then we got a cow tattoo and headed up to the Miracle of Birth barn for some concentrated baby animal action. Or as I like to call it, the Miracle of Chaotic Claustrophobia. Good luck in there. We got to see some lambs and chicks and that was about it. The loss of Bunny Town, smashing all the animals together, and removing all exits has made this barn a nightmare. But anyway, on to something I enjoy, Creative Activities! Yay!

Bella went bonkers at the little dollhouse stuff (that bodes well!) and she got to pick out a loaf of bread to buy from St. Agnes bakery. She picked Raspberry Brown Sugar.

Raspberry Brown Sugar Bread

Then we picked up a pickle hat, which quickly usurped the pig ears. We got our picture made in the Education building and then it was time for a good old cup of joe on the Farmers Union patio. What's this, another hat? What luck!

Coffee Hat

Then Dave and Libby and the cousins met up with us after their own eventful morning at the fair. We had lunch and then caught the parade. Then, after a little nap, it was time for Cafe Accordion. They were playing from a new album and it seemed very South American and not so very Frenchy. But at least Bear liked it and wanted to see.

Holding bear up to see

Then we called it a wonderful day and headed home. 

State Fair: Day 5

What a perfect fair evening. Met up with Alison and Jed after work, did a little shopping, a little eating, a little cruising, a little browsing of crafties.

Creative Activities

And some coffee.

Farmer's Union Coffee Shop

Played in the arcade. Watched the fireworks. Then happened upon the nightly restock of the mini donut stand, where we had many of our behind-the-scenes questions answered.

My food recommendation from tonight is the deep-fried loaded tator-tots on a stick (Axels). YUM.

And lastly, here is my effort to capture the fair through a tribute video. I love to make these so that I, for one, can watch them during the long winter doldrums of fairlessness and remember the hot afternoons and cool nights and bustle of silliness that is the Fair. And if you don't admit that the fair is silly, then I dare you to press play and watch the dancing french fry.

24 August 2008

State Fair: Day 3

Today Brent even joined us at the Fair! It was a gorgeous day. The prettiest fair day in recent history. I was still going strong after 11 hours, unlike yesterday, proving that sweltering heat does indeed wear you out.

We started off in Carousel Park with a good old fashioned carousel ride (Not me, I get seasick. Bella says, "Mommy will wave!"), which Bella had been looking forward to since the day before.

On the carousel

One ride I do love is the Giant Slide. Brent is usually assigned to be picture-taker. He managed to get one of Bella and I not smiling, which is weird because I swear we smiled the whole time. Huh.

Giant Slide

It was absurdly busy, but I kind of like that. I like coming up over a crest and seeing the insane sea of people milling in front of you, and always getting the hottest possible food because booths are going through it like crazy, and avoiding the pile-up at the bottom of the Giant Slide, and getting to overhear lots of good conversations. Oh, speaking of food, we had quite an adventurous eating day...
  • Buni's Buns: possibly the greatest caramel roll I've ever had. It's going to be hard not getting one of these every morning. Brent and I split one, except that I ended up eating all but 2 bites. Oops.
  • Roasted Corn: I predicted Bella would love this, since she can eat 2 ears of corn at a go, but she was all, "eh."
  • Honey Lemonade: I plan on never drinking anything else at the fair.
  • Pizza on a Stick: This was from Green Mill and was AWESOME. 
  • Bacon on a stick: Not that great. It is so thick (1/3 lb) that it tastes almost more like jerky or something. I like bacon that melts in your mouth!
  • Strawberry Crepe: Totally fantastic. I am back on crepes after my first day leather-crepe let down.
  • Peanut Butter Hot Dog: Of our group, I was the only one who liked this. But I like like LIKED it! Disclaimer: I like peanut butter, honey, and hot dogs more than your average person.
  • Chocolate covered bacon: Um. Yuck?
  • Jamaican Jerk Pork Chop on a stick: Fabulouso. Now here's some pork that melts in your mouth. (in the Bazaar)
Here is Bella eating the chocolate covered bacon:

Chocolate covered bacon

I think that about covers it. Oh, and some ice cream for Bella. Which we impulsively got in milk shake format, not realizing that would blow her mind. "I'm eating ice cream with A STRAW!!" 

I should clarify that we met up with several people during the day, and so didn't order all of this food ourselves. Except for the Buni Bun. That was pretty much all me.

Bella was still a little tired from our previous day at the Fair, apparently, since she took a 3.5 hour nap in the stroller. While she napped we strollered her all over the fair, snacking, listening to bands, playing skee-ball, people-watching, drinking beer. 

Bella and I did a little shopping for Fairwear. We got cute shirts, both on sale, which is shocking in the Fairwear store. We will be sporting them on Tuesday during our second Mommy/Daughter day.

We popped in to check out the butterheads and I was so impressed with the new butterhead gazebo! It seems smaller, but is bumped out from the corner, so you can go almost 360 around it. What a huge improvement!

Butterhead Carving

As some of you may remember, last year I made Bella an Alphabet at the Fair scrapbook. When we walked up to the butterheads, Bella asks, "Where's the B?" Because B is for Butterheads!

Bella, just chillin' in Baldwin Park, where she was unfortunately not entertained by the juggler (so we moved on to cows):

Relaxing at Baldwin Park

I stopped by J. O'Donogue Books in Heritage Square and was able to flip through the much hyped State Fair photo book, new this year. Not too impressive. I certainly have many better pictures of the fair in my collection, and I know A & J certainly could top those too. There are a few great pictures, but certainly there are some way cooler ones just hanging out on Flickr

What a great fair day, weatherwise, companywise, foodwise, and otherwise. 

22 August 2008

State Fair: Day 2

What a sweltering day at the fair! I was sweating buckets. Whenever I'd see someone in long pants, I would think, "Seriously? SERIOUSLY??" So. Hot. But then right when I thought I might keel over from the smell of my own armpits, the sky very accommodatingly clouded up and even misted a little rain. Ahhhhhhhh. That's better.

But anyway, the heat didn't stop Bella and I, and about a gazillion other people, from enjoying a day at the fair. It was Fire Prevention day, so there were lots and LOTS of firetrucks hanging about. We went straight for the Super Jump to avoid lines. We still had to wait behind 5 kids, which turned out to be about 20 minutes. Bella waited patiently, clutching her ticket. She didn't get patient waiting from me, since I was busy harumphing and fidgeting and sighing loudly. But it was worth the wait.



She loved it. Later, while we were relaxing in front of a band, she said, "Remember yesterday, when I had fun on the jumper?" (Still a little foggy on the whole idea of time).

Time for a snow cone! I hate buying things I don't like to eat the remainder of. Also I hate buying things that turn stroller and occupant blue.

Snow Cone

Little Farm Hands is as cute as ever.

Driving the tractor:

Driving the tractor

Planting a potato (with her "holer"):

Planting a potato

Ready to go to the Farmer's Market and earn her dollar!

Little Farmhand

She used her dollar to buy an apple. Which was sour and thick-skinned if you ask me, but she enjoyed gnawing on it.

After that, we did what every farm girl does after coming in from the fields. We got our nails painted! Bella loved it so much, the woman did all ten nails, and I bought the little pens too. Because, as I learned from the guide inside the box, "Just like the clothes you wear and the way you style your hair, the designs you create on your nails will show others your true individual character."

Flowery Fingernails

Can you even see the nail polish on this grimy little hands?

We napped by the greenhouse/Bailey house, which turns out to actually be almost a better nap spot than my previous favorite behind the old bazaar, except that at 2 o'clock the parade goes by and that's the end of that. But we loved the parade. Smokey the Bear was a big hit with Bella.

Bella then played in the topiaries (see yesterday's pictures), talking to them, naming them, wanting her photo with them. It was so cute, maybe I should buy her one. Wait, how much are they? $4000 for a buffalo?

We got a banana instead. (As in a piece of fruit, not a banana topiary.)

Although this little guy is already winning me over. He'll wear me down during the fair. With his perky little ears. "I could live in your garden! I'll be good, I promise."

Bunny Topiary

We visited the real bunnies too, and saw the most excitement I've ever seen in the bunny barn. ESCAPED BUNNIES!! A 4-H clad adult gave Bella a little shove, and as I turned to do a mommy throwdown, I saw that she was frantically trying to move in the direction of three bunnies hopping confusedly around on the floor. Pepper would have bolted out of the barn and into the Turkey-to-Go booth and chewed through their power cords before anyone could have reacted. But these little guys just milled around in a little herd, sniffing and hopping. So cute. Bella enjoyed asking every bunny, "Do you want a treat? Aw, you do? Ok." (this is normal dialog with our bunnies), which made me feel so bad for the buns. I was giving them apologetic looks behind Bella's back.

What a great day at the fair. I am looking forward to some cooler weekend weather.

State Fair: Day 1

Entering the fair this morning, it did feel (as Alison pointed out) that I had never left. All the time since last year was gone in the blink of an eye, and here it was, fairtime again. Just a quick photo recap:

First, a quick cup of coffee. Only $1!

Moon Beam Coffee

First day briefing at the Cookie booth:

Employees getting briefed in the morning

Giant Slide workers go for the first ride:

Employees test the giant slide

Mixing up a first batch of candy bar coating batter:

Mixing up some Candy Bar on a stick batter

A quick stop up to see the new Bazaar:

New International Bazaar

This fruit booth outside the bazaar looks great:

Stocking Produce

These topiaries are one of the coolest things there:

Topiaries

This looks really good, although I'm waiting for Brent:

Bacon-on-a-stick

And then it was just a big bunny extravaganza, along with a misty rain and some very late fireworks.

Messy Bunny

Antenna Bunny

Big and little bunnies

Fluffy Bunny

Alarmed Bunny

Bella and I are off for Day 2!

20 August 2008

A Prelude to the Fair

After cicadas finish buzzing in the hot afternoon
Cooling dusk tiptoes up
And gently pushes you inside.

Fresh sweet corn stands
Lure you to the side of the road
To buy dinner to take home and shuck.

In the garden mums and sedum
Can hardly contain themselves
But yet tantalize with their buds closed.

The fairgrounds are set and dressed
Bountiful beautiful welcoming
A holiday table for all to come home to.



See you at the Fair.

11 August 2008

One thing good about the Olympics

... is you get a lot of knitting done. Latest project: Harvey Kimono, from Natural Knits for Babies and Moms by Louisa Harding.

Kimono Sweater with Picot Edge

Kimono Sweater

I used the suggested yarn, Rowan Purelife 100% organic cotton. It is very soft and came in a lot of nice muted colors. I chose "Lipstick Tree."

Rowan Purelife

The only problem I saw with this yarn is that when I pinned and sprayed the sweater to block it, all the orange color ran to the back. Hmmm, pretty big problem? I thought so. I flipped it over and squirted the back too, to try to reach some kind of dye equilibrium. It worked ok. But I won't be surprised if the first time I wash this sweater it comes out white.

I originally started this sweater for a tiny new addition to Brent's sister's family. However, I did so many projects inbetween, and was just so overall lazy about it, that she is now a quite jumbo and only moderately-new addition. So I figure I'll make her something bigger and more wintry. This sweater will wait for someone small again.

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