1. The Big Bear zoo makes me sad. All the animals there were abused, injured, or abandoned. There’s like a cloud of gloominess that hovers over the entire place. Yes, it’s a good thing to rescue animals and provide for them. Yes, I was happy to pay the larger fee because I knew it was going to animals that needed rehabilitation. (Like Huckleberry, the three legged bear. Poor old Huckleberry.)
But, holy moly, the dreariness of the place was palpable. All the animals would look at you with eyes that were saying “Just counting down the days until death. Sweet death.”
I don’t know if I’ll ever go back. The nephews liked it. But, they’re just kids, so the despair was lost on them.
2. I love the “House of Jerky.” First of all, due to its name. I think because it reminds me of “House of Pancakes.” Any establishment that dedicates itself to one item, and thrives, is okay in my book. (Well, as long as it’s not “House of Depressed Animals” which I’ve already mentioned I’m not a fan of.)
Second of all, because it makes me feel like a pioneer to leave with a little pack of jerky and think “I could trek across the great Big Bear landscape and survive the harsh clime with my jerky stash.”
I’m not as brave as some members of my family. I stick with the regular kind. I passed on the ostrich, buffalo, and venison.
3. I am now a huge fan of Mahjong! I learned how to play it this weekend from one of my sisters-in-law (Hi Daphne!) and fell in love with the game. (Even though I stunk at it.)
Now, if you’ve ever played a game with me, you will know that I’m not competitive. In fact, I will help other players win if I can. This was not the case with Mahjong. I don’t know if it was because it took me so long to get the concept, but I became set on winning. I didn’t, mind you (even though we played 7 games in a row). But, in my heart of hearts I wanted to be the Mahjong champion.
We’ve ordered two sets for my family, and soon I’m going to announce an upcoming “Mahjong Extravaganza Party!!” You’re all invited. But be forewarned, when I play with you, I’m going to try my best to crush you into dust (in a Christ-like manner, of course).
4. High tea is for me! In Big Bear they have this cute tea shop that is decorated to the nines. It’s like tea cup happiness exploded all over the ceiling. And they offer the “high tea” experience which means that they bring you a plethora of little foods to enjoy with your selection of teas. Tiny sandwiches of all varieties, tiny soup, tiny salad, and tiny scones, cakes, and muffins. I was in tiny heaven!
It was so much fun to go with my mom, sisters, and sisters-in-law and have time away from the boys to chat while using fancy cutlery and raising our pinkies. What a blast! Our only regret is that we didn’t realize (until we were leaving) that the hat rack filled with awesome hats were for the guests to wear during their tea. Oh well, next year!
The price of the whole thing made my brothers and father question our sanity. But, really, can you put a price on memories filled with little delights? Can you? I don’t think so.
5. I love my family!
Even in tight quarters with 7 people to a bathroom and 6 of us to a room.
Even with babies crying and children screaming and parents yelling.
Even with smeared chocolate mouths on new shirts and “Carry me!” on a long walk with a hurt back.
Even with slight disagreements over dishes and fierce competition over Mahjong.
In fact, I love them because of all those things! And can’t wait until next year when we do it again!!
Yay for families!!!!!*
Here are some pictures:
* And speaking of families, could you all do me a favor and say a little prayer for my brother Joe who has come down with a case of the Shingles? Yes, Shingles. Poor guy. It's terribly painful...