Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Lakeside Monastery

I was watching the news last night (which I like to call the "Gloomies") and to my horror the weatherman announced that this week the temperatures will hit some obscene lows, with some days having a high in the single digits. When one remembers the inevitable wind chill factor, we're now talking about weather that feels like 20 below zero. If God had intended normal human beings to live in such climates, he would have made us all look like penguins.

Of course, as my tummy gets bigger every day and my waddle more pronounced, perhaps I am evolving into a penguin. (If that's so, I wonder if I could get Handyman to watch the chicks for 3 months out of the year, like Emperor Penguins do? Something to think about . . .)

Therefore, I am pulling out more pictures of my trip to the Sunny South for the holidays. Perhaps warm memories will keep my toes warm too!

My Oma and Opa (that's Dutch for "Grandma" and "Grandpa") live on a lake, and we often teasingly refer to their home as a monastery, since time . . . . seems . . . . to . . . . . slow . . . . there . . . .

There's a large greenhouse adjacent to the house that used to be home to their many orchids (they raised orchids and had a flower shop as a business) that needed some shoring up. So, who did they call for help? Handyman, of course!

Handyman and his sidekick Joshy did some excellent work, as always. Those two really work well together. (They do look like salt and pepper, though, don't they?)

Even Peter got in on the action, although I'm not sure his sort of help accomplished all that much. Notice the concentration - notice the energy - notice the tongue sticking out from the effort of winding that empty garden hose reeler!

Also on the agenda was a tour of the empty fish pond in the green house. I have very vivid memories of getting spanked for throwing gravel in the fish pond. (Hey! The gravel is less than 5 inches from the tank. We're talking about temptation too great for a mortal child to resist!) Apparently, my children have more of my genes than I thought.

An hour or so on the lake was also mandatory for the kids. The weather was a bit overcast and chilly for bare feet, so we didn't stay out too much longer than that.

Oma and Opa couldn't take the kids out on their boat (Peter was very disappointed) because the water levels are so low that it's too dangerous to have a boat in the cove right now. Usually, the water is all the way to the left of the photograph. In over 27 years of living on the lake, Opa said he's never seen it this low. Very sad and depressing, I thought.

The kids didn't know that, of course. Banna-boo kept walking around and delightedly exclaiming, "It's all muddy, Mama; it's all muddy" like a broken record. Mud is good for kids, I think. Just like vitamins.

Peter had fun finding lots of shells, sticks, and rocks to throw in the water. (Notice that Banna-boo is in the background. She looks suitably ticked off about something. Don't worry, though, that's her usual expression.)

After a hard day's work, and a hard day's play, it was time to clean up.

Nobody knows how to relax quite like my brother. (He's going to kill me for publishing this photo. It's a good thing I live 900 miles away.)