I often claim to be a food satire blogger, but most of the Throwback Thursday and Random Picture of the Day posts I’ve been scheduling are anything but.  In fact, many of them have been thoughtful and introspective and full of stories or glimpses into my past.  Gah.  Who am I these days?  Well, today, I’m getting back to my roots.  Back to what makes me happiest.  Poking fun at things.

Or at the very least sharing pictures of weirdly shaped food.

First up, we have siamese grapes.

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Yes, I ate them.  They were delish.  Not that I use words like delish because I don’t and that squiggly red line WordPress puts under the word delish just confirms it.  No more using the word delish.

Next up, we have a radish that grew a baby radish.

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It was also delish.  Dangit!  For the record, WordPress says I shouldn’t use the word dangit either.

Finally, we have a heart shaped potato!

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Fun.  Fun.  Probably should have used this pic around Valentines Day.

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Nothing says love like a heart shaped potato amiright?  Crap.  Apparently amiright isn’t a word either.

I’d better just stop now before WordPress gives me an F on this post.

– Joanna

Question of the Day:  Ran across any oddly shaped foods lately?

I have to say, I’m really enjoying doing these Throwback Thursday posts all at once and scheduling them in advance . . . although I feel like I am cheating a little bit on the current Midwestern Bite.  The Midwestern Bite of Tuesday, January 7th.  We’re at the tail end of a record setting cold spell around these parts so hopefully this is my last of three days housebound.  Tomorrow is supposed to shoot up in the 30’s and I couldn’t be more thrilled!  I love winter and all, but it’s a whole new ballgame when you have small children to consider.  I can’t drag Sweetey Petey out in sub zero temperatures just because I have cabin fever.  I’m a little like my Father-in-Law in that respect – while I appreciate home, I can’t stand sitting around it all day.  I need at least a few hours of outside stimulation.

Cold weather talk aside, how is May treating you all?  I’m scheduling this post for May 29 so I bet it’s pretty dang nice out there.

Ok, ok, back to it.  Here’s a picture of me I really like and let me tell you why.

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This picture is very indicative of me from back in the day.

One – Long jackets.  Anybody familiar with the song from Cake called “Short Skirt Long Jacket”?  I love that band and I love that song.  Cutesy long jackets used to be my thing, my bag, my schtick and I totally rocked them for years.  I just ran across this particular jacket a few months ago and I’m pretty sure I finally donated it.  It’s not like it fit anymore, but I have a tendency to hold onto things for sentimental reasons.  It was adorable.  Tuxedo black with skinny, shiny, barely there silver stripes.

Two – While we are talking about wardrobe, you can’t miss the bare belly here.  Remember when that was a thing?  Now that I’m in my thirties I’m really glad it’s NOT still a thing, but back then?  Yeah, I had my share of shorty shirts.  We all have our body issues and wish we could make changes to something about ourselves, that’s human nature I suppose.  This picture always reminds me of a part of myself I’ve never wished to change.  Skinnier thighs?  Heck yes.  Easier to manage hair?  Hell to the yeah!  But I’ve never felt subconscious about my waistline.  I find it ironic to be typing that now considering I am almost seven months pregnant and don’t currently have a waistline.  There’s nothing wrong with celebrating our positives amiright?  I’m right.

Three – Gym Shoes.  I’m not the kind of girl to wear impractical stiletto heels to walk around an aquarium (that’s where this picture was taken in case you can’t tell) for hours just for fashion’s sake.  Sure, I like cute shoes just as much as the next woman does but I’m not about to sacrifice my feet for them.  That brings me to point four.

Four – The aquarium.  I love fish and I love the aquarium.  I have an entire gallery wall in my house dedicated to fish art.  I had an aquarium pass for years in my college days.  I have GOBS of fish ornaments to adorn my Christmas tree.  I named my dog Koi after a fish.  I.  Love.  Fish.  They are also quite tasty, if I might add.

That’s all for today.  Enjoy your last few days in May my friends!

– Joanna

Question of the Day:  What is one thing you love about yourself?  It’s okay to toot your own horn every now and again.

This picture is self explanatory and requires no back story from me.

How NOT to wear your sunglasses.

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Looking at this old picture reminds me the toddler really needs a haircut right now.  Badly.

– Joanna 

Question of the Day:  What color are your sunglasses??

For Throwback Thursday I’d like to share a picture of my grandmother’s house and a few quick memories.

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For the record, I always thought grandma’s house looked like a duck.  It’s yellow.  With a duck bill and two eyes.  You can see it right???  Please say yes.

Anyway, my sister and I spent a lot of time at grandma’s house during the summers when mom was working her part time chemist gig.  Grandma never drove so we took lots of walks down to the ice cream shop.  My favorite treat was always a vanilla ice cream cone dipped in butterscotch.  You know, the shell stuff that hardens.  Yum.  I still think about those ice cream cones from time to time.

Grandma also used to let my sister and I play with her spice collection.  We would pour water into little white bowls and dump in various spices to make patterns.  Now that I have my own house and my own kitchen and know how much spices cost it mortifies me that she let us do this!  Spices are expensive people.  She must have really loved us.

Grandma taught us the value of hard work as she paid us a quarter to wash her dishes for her.  I’d like to think my labor was worth more, but I guess she had to compensate for the spice usage.

A fun tidbit is that my grandmother was physically born in this house.  Not only was she born there in what I knew as the dining room, but she lived there her entire life except for a few months (or maybe a year or two) when she got married.  Her and grandpa eventually moved back (I want to say to care for an ill parent but I’m not 100% sure on this account.)  Can you imagine living in the same house for over 70 years????  Crazy.

This house is bigger than it looks.  It’s a two family (although when I knew grandma it was only set up as a single family), three story with a full basement.

My sister used to say “up-a-deo” when she wanted to go upstairs to play.

Doors used to creak open by themselves and I swear grandma’s house was haunted.  My mother used to tell me not to worry about it because while yes, lots of people had died in that house, they were all family so it was no big deal and they wouldn’t hurt me.

Last but not least my grandmother used to let my sister and I break an ENTIRE LOAF OF BREAD into small pieces and throw it in the backyard for the birds.  Literally hundreds of birds would swoop down and nibble at the scraps we had tossed.  I’m not kidding you, the entire yard would be covered in birds!

Fond memories of my grandmother.

– Joanna

Question of the Day:  Did you spend much time at your grandparents when you were a kid?  

Back in the good ol’ blog days I used to like cartoonizing things.  I’ve matured past that stage, but I still really like the cartoon feature.  It’s fun.  And who doesn’t need more fun in their life.

So for fun let’s see what some trees look like before, after, and after some more.  This is a simple picture from a simple point and shoot camera, taken on one of our vacation, cabin in the woods, hiking adventures.

Before.

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After

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After some more.

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After is my favorite.  Even a mediocre picture becomes something interesting when you cartoonize it.

– Joanna

Question of the Day:  What’s your favorite?  What would you cartoonize?

Don’t take life so seriously.

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It’s not like you’re going to get out alive.

I swiped this pic as a screenshot on my cell phone from a Facebook post a while back so unfortunately I can’t give credit where credit is due.  Hopefully that isn’t some kind of internet no-no.  I think I read once you can use someone else’s picture only so long as you are using it for satire.

That means I need to ridicule this guy on the skateboard, perhaps in the context of contemporary politics.  So . . . HA HA! THAT OLD GUY IS JUST LIKE OUR GOVERNMENT, GOING DOWNHILL FAST!  How was that?  Passable?  I think so.

The real reason I am posting this picture is because right now I need this reminder.  Right now is January 28th for me.  Prescheduling.  Remember?  I’ve been having some serious pregnancy induced sciatic nerve issues (which thanks to a Chiropractor friend are readily improving) and last Friday I busted my left ring finger pretty good . . . while trying to open curtains.  If injuring oneself on the most mundane of household tasks like opening the curtains doesn’t say klutz, I really don’t know what does.  As I type this my finger is in a $2 drugstore splint and I’m vowing never to open the curtains again.  Ever.

But as my husband says (and I HATE it when he does), it could always be worse.

I’ve been letting the weight of a new baby coming in less than two months make me careless and klutzy.  Sorry new baby, I didn’t mean to blame my finger injury on you although my giant belly did affect my center of gravity substantially.  No, no, new baby, totally not your fault.  I mean, not entirely.  No, no, not at all.  Pinky swear.

But really, is it that big of a deal?  My sciatic and finger are both on the mend (so says the Chiropractor anyway).  We have clothes and burp clothes and blankets galore.  We have the carseat and a double stroller.  The nursery has been painted.  The Husband is hanging the curtains today for me.  Does it matter that the art isn’t on the walls yet or that I’ve not finished the custom painted light switch cover I’ve been working on or that the guest room is only 90% cleared of the random stuff I’ve been storing in there?  No.  It doesn’t.  I’m pretty sure skateboarding guy doesn’t care and I’m even surer new baby doesn’t care.

So whatever is getting to you these days . . . relax.  Don’t take it so seriously.  Also, maybe don’t skateboard down a big hill because if you are klutzy like me that could lead to injuries.  Mmmmm K?

Have a great day!

– Joanna

Question of the day:  What’s getting you down today?  Do tell and then think about it no more.

I’ve drug this on far too long.  It was a half a day at the aquarium after all not a week long vacation in the Caribbean scuba diving with actual aquatic wildlife.  This is also way too much posting for me in a week.  The new babe doesn’t sleep well enough for this yet.  Big thanks to Aly of Fudging Ahead for keeping me virtual company in the wee hours of the morning though.  My best parenting advice is to find a friend in a different time zone so they are up when you are up 😉

If you missed my previous posts on this riveting adventure, Part One can be found here and Part Two can be found here.  Part Two has the best pictures.

After the fam and I went through the first time, Phase One, we walked around town a bit.

To the river.

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 Back up from the river (the boy loves steps by the way – perhaps a stair master for his birthday?)

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River view.

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I managed to find some fish even outside the aquarium.  This fellow in front of a restaurant.

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And this fellow . . . I forget where.  Light post?  Garden bed?  It escapes me.  He’s an ominous, threatening fellow.  As if silently warning me there were no fish sticks at the aquarium.

Hi I’m Joanna and I apparently beat dead horses fish.

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Balls.  Big ones.  Heh.

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Walked up and down more stairs.

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Looked at stuff.  Waiting for my sister and her family.

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Phase Two!!!

They finally arrived and we supped on fancy schmancy grilled cheese sandwiches!

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I went for dessert grilled cheese, trying a grilled cheese donut.  It had fresh strawberries, candied lemon peel and mascarpone cheese.   My sister had to cut it up for me so I could eat while holding the babe.  Thanks Em!  And yes, that is my DSLR in the background while I snapped these photos with my I-Phone.  Again, only one hand people, only one hand.

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I saved The Husband and The Pete one bite each.  I’m nice that way.  It was fab by the way.  Totally worth the time it took to jog it back off later.

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After lunch The Husband and I switched kids!  He Ergo-ed up the baby and I wrangled the wild, wiggly, over tired toddler. Maybe that’s actually how I worked off the donut??  Still, it was nice to get a different perspective the second time through. Before, I had the luxury of snapping pictures.  Not super easy with a baby strapped to me, but since she was sleeping it was way easier than taking pictures while also running after Petey.  No amount of shutter speed can compensate for that action.  This time though I was able to enjoy Petey enjoying the aquarium.  And enjoy it he did . . . at breakneck, run around in circles speed.

I don’t have too many pictures I can share from Phase Two actually.  You all know I don’t go super crazy posting pictures of the kids on my blog.  So while I did pull out my Nikon for round two in Turtle Canyon and snapped some great pics of the kids you’ll have to find me personally on Facebook to see them.

Here’s a nice one of my niece from behind though.  Don’t you just want her hair???  I do.

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And my nephew . . . also running around like a mad banshee.  We’ve all decided he and Sweetey Petey will never be allowed in the same room alone together as they would most certainly get into trouble.

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That’s all I’ve got for this trip.  Have a great weekend everybody!

– Joanna

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Question of the Day:  What are your weekend plans?  Anything exciting on tap?

 

My mom has a chemistry degree and has worked part time as a lab technician pretty much since I can remember.  The job she worked at for most of my school years had a few family perks we always really enjoyed.

Once a year they rented out some huge venue and threw a giant summer party.  Places like water parks and small theme parks.  When I was older my mom would often just give the tickets to me or my sister and we would grab a few friends and go by ourselves.

Good (and more importantly free) times!

Here’s a fun caricature that was done of me at one of these bashes.

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It’s dated 1988 so I was in grade school.  Apparently I liked to draw back then or at least that’s what I told the artist when he asked me what I liked to do.

And yup, I still have this caricature.  It’s not displayed or anything, but stored safely away in a tupperware bin in the closet.

– Joanna

Question of the Day:  Do you have a box of fun and random childhood memorabilia?  

If you missed Part 1 please click here.  There’s a fabulously interesting tirade on the lack of fish sticks at the aquarium.  If you don’t read that post the title of this post will mean nothing to you.  Go on.  Read it.  Then come back.  For fish pictures!  But not fish sticks because there were no fish sticks at the aquarium.

I may have teased you about fish pictures yesterday, but I mean it this time.  I swear.

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Come!  Visit the aquarium with us!  There will be actual pictures and everything!

Like I mentioned yesterday, we went through twice, once by ourselves and once when my sister and her family arrived.  It’s a good thing too because by the time they rolled into town it was Sweetey Petey’s (missed) nap time and he was a spiraling ball of energy and craziness the rest of the day.  So we saw more fish the first time around.  Had more family fun the second time around though.

Let’s call our first visit through the aquarium Phase One.

During Phase One I had Baby Charwee slung up in the Ergo and The Husband was on Sweetey Petey duty.

Well hi there.

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I actually really love this picture.  It’s very indicative of my life these days.  Pretty much everything I do, I do with a baby strapped to me.

The aquarium was divided into galleries which seems like a natural way to break up this post too.

Let’s get to it then.  Finally.

World Rivers –  Freshwater river inhabitants. You can pick one of these guys up at your local pet store for a few bucks if you really want to experience the aquarium with us.  I used to have one of these fellows back in the day.  His name was Sid.  He was awful to the other fish and wouldn’t die.  Worst.  Fish.  Ever.

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Shore Gallery – A touch pool for the kiddios!  The shark and starfish were not for touching, but were located next to the touch pool so I lumped them here.

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Shark Ray Bay Theater – We didn’t stay for a show, but did take a minute to enjoy one of the largest windows in the aquarium.  That’s one happy looking stingray.

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Bizarre and Beautiful –  Unusual creatures including octopus and Japanese spider crabs.

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Dangerous & Deadly –  Feared and deadly aquatic animals including piranhas, poisoned frogs, stonefish, lionfish, snakes, sharks, and stingrays.

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Gator Alley –  Meet Mighty Mike! That alligator was seriously huge.  We barely made it out alive.

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Frog Bog – One of the largest collections of frogs in the Midwest, a Frogger interactive game, and a Frog Bog jungle gym!  Petey ran around the Frog Bog like a mad freaking banshee.  Both in Phase One and Phase Two.

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Turtle Canyon –  Ummmm this was the largest turtle ever.  Petey loved it.  It’s all he talked about.  It’s all he still talks about.  He was, shall we say, less than pleased when we left Turtle Canyon.  Oh and the tinier turtles?  They were The Husband’s favorite as they seemed “friendly.”

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Amazon Tunnel –  A 32 foot long tunnel reminiscent of a flooded Amazon rainforest.

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Coral Reef –  I took no pictures here.  Sadness.

Jellyfish Gallery – The largest jellyfish exhibit in the Midwest!  Play tag (and take shadow selfies) with moon jellies at the interactive Jelly Wall.  The jellyfish were one of my favorite exhibits.

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Surrounded by Sharks –  Stroll through a giant tunnel surrounded by sharks, stingrays, and fish swimming over, under and all around.  It was right about here it really started to smell like fish sticks.

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Sharky’s Cafe –  WHERE THERE WERE NO FISH STICKS!  Harumpf.

Shark Central –  Touch a shark.  I have no pictures from this either.  More sadness.

Penguin Palooza –  Penguins.  Penguins rock.  Cute, fiesty, excellent swimmers.  If I had to pick a creature to take home, it would be a penguin for sure.

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Overhead Shark Viewing – View the tanks from above.  We all loved this part.  Petey especially loved the underwater periscope.

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Gift Shop –  Parents worst nightmare.  Yikes.  I think Petey hugged every stuffed animal . . . which is funny because he doesn’t have any particular attachment to stuffed animals at home.  There was also a plastic light up ray gun that was very popular; I had to put it back at least four times.  If you’re wondering what a light up ray gun has to do with fish . . . well, so am I.

See ya either tomorrow or Friday for Phase Two where we wander around town waiting for my sister’s family, eat donuts and swap responsibility as we trek through the tanks for a second time.  Yup, I’m dragging this out for a THIRD day.  Sorry I’m not sorry.

– Joanna

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Question of the Day:  Which creature is your favorite?

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Since I still claim this is a “food satire blog” despite the ridiculous amount of chicken posts lately (okay that still makes it sound like food but since we haven’t eaten any of the chickens it’s not really) I’ll start this post off with the fact there were no fish sticks at the aquarium.

It sure smelled like fish sticks, especially around the cafe, but hunt as I might  . . . there were no fish sticks at the aquarium.

Yes, after wandering through room after room of both local and exotic aquatic wildlife, I still had a hankering for the breaded white fish we all scarfed down as children.  It’s fair to say I cannot recall the last time before that I’d even thought about fish sticks, but dang I could think of nothing but that day.

It seems appropriate doesn’t it?  To serve fish sticks at the aquarium?  Fish are food, not friends after all.  I like visiting farms but I still fried up some bacon for breakfast this morning.

There REALLY should have been fish sticks at the aquarium.  I mean, if they can manage mini pizza’s, french fries and fried chicken strips, fish sticks shouldn’t be out of the question.  And why the fish stick smell?  I SWEAR it was quite strong right outside the cafe.  Ask The Husband, he’ll back me up on this one.  He smelled it too.  Did they pipe in the fish stick smell?  Did they put a tank full of common white fish right outside the entrance and I just missed it??

WHY DID THE PLACE SMELL LIKE FISH STICKS WHEN THERE WERE NO FISH STICKS AT THE AQUARIUM???

Why are we even talking about this anyway????  If you recall I asked you folks last week to pick this week’s topic and two of you picked the aquarium so blame Unka Rick and Aly for this tirade.  In their defense I assume they were looking for pictures of fish rather than six paragraphs on fish sticks.  No worries.  I have pictures of fish too.  Some are better than others because taking pictures in a dimly lit room with no tripod and a twelve pound baby strapped to you in a sling is challenging at best.

But I did my best and I’m pretty pleased with the results.

So, here’s the haps.  My sister contacted me on a Monday and wanted to know if we’d like to hit up the aquarium with her family that same Friday.  The kids were off school and they were planning a last minute trip.  It was a little bit of a drive for both of us but as we were driving towards each other to meet in the middle it seemed like a natural rendevous.  Plus I love fish (to eat and to look at).  The Husband’s work schedule allowed for him to take a vacation day and we were on like prawn.

Ha!  I kill me sometimes, I really do.

My brother-in-law, Unka Rick, had to work Friday morning so they weren’t planning on getting to the aquarium till about 1:00 pm.  Mike and I decided to pack the kids up early and go through the aquarium twice, once by ourselves and once with my sister’s brood.

We arrived at the aquarium about 10:15 am but didn’t get inside till closer to 10:45 am.  Baby Charwee needed a “shirt snack” in the parking garage.  For those not in the know, a shirt snack is lunch.  And breakfast and dinner and snack and middle of the night hungries.  We adopted this phrase shortly after lunch at Panera one day when Sweetey Petey stood on the bench seat, pointed to his baby sister, and yelled BOOB MILK loudly and repeatedly.  Baby Charwee no longer eats boob milk.  She now has a shirt snack.

But I’ve segued.

Let’s get to the fish!!

No, wait.  Let’s not.  I mean, yes, let’s wait.  Let’s wait till tomorrow to see the fish!

I know, I suck.

The fact of the matter is I have too many pictures for one post, especially considering I’ve wasted so much time discussing fish sticks, or rather the lack thereof.  Sorry I’m not sorry.  Come back tomorrow for fish pictures.

– Joanna

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Question of the Day:  What aquatic life are you most excited to see pictures of?

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