Thursday, July 31, 2008

Juicy Ripe Peaches!

Today's Wonder of the World is...Juicy Ripe Peaches!

We're in prime time peach season, y'all!!!
All over upstate South Carolina, the branches are just loaded with them.

See what I mean?
I took that picture yesterday after supper.
We had just sat down to eat when a wild craving came over all of us. (I think it was the peach scent in the air.) All of us, except Sam, that is, who gets nauseous at the thought of fruits and vegetables!

What else could we do? We gobbled up our dinner, piled in the car, and drove straight to Fisher's Produce Stand, a few miles from home. The light was really nice, so I walked out back and snapped a few pictures of the peach trees.
Then I hurried back to see what the selection looked like.

It looked mighty fine! In fact, I could hardly move! I just stood there, drooling over the baskets of ripe juicy peaches!

We decided on a small bag for now, and then a bigger basket when the big kids get home from camp this weekend.

As you can see, Sam did find something he could eat. Those sneaky peach farmers! They put an ice cream shop right onto the end of the produce stand!

Of course, I had to get peach.

And yes, it was as good as it looks.

Now, what to do with all those peaches?
I could make peach cobbler...

Flickr photo by Rick Rack Attack!
I really am heartless to tempt you like this.

Or I might just eat them au naturel.

Flickr photo by Peach Kisses
(The peaches are au naturel, that is. I will wear clothes. Don't you worry. Or else I'd get peach juice all over myself and that could be uncomfortable.)
Let's change the subject.

Did you know that when we lived in France, we found that the French love slightly sweet tea? If it's peach flavored!!
See, I knew they weren't so different from Southerners!

Flickr photo by erinn levit

And look what product they have out now!
You won't believe it! What a perfect snack!

Flickr photo by Pachelbel Canon
This one's from Italy, but they have it in France too. It's Peach Tea with sweet breadsticks to dip in Nutella! I am just flabbergasted by such ingenuity! My favorite things! Together!
(I haven't been this pleased since I discovered Reese's cups!)

Have a Wonder-Full Thursday, everybody!
And enjoy the trailer for James and the Giant You-Know-What!

Love, Becky

UPDATE: Thanks May, for alerting me to this video of a peachy song you must enjoy. Don't miss the end. It's weirdly wonderful!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Eyes Watching You!

Today's Wonder of the World is...Fake Eyes!

Flickr photo by kingkonut

No! Not those!
They gives me the willies! (I love the term the willies. I must find out where it comes from.)

I mean fake eyes like these.

Flickr photo by Sun Chaser
See them looking at you?

I find it fascinating that nature provides some of its most vulnerable creatures protection with adaptations like fake eyes! All because nobody really likes to be stared at.
Well, some people probably do.

Flickr photo by Chris in KC
But being stared at is scary to most of us. Unless it's part of the mating ritual. Which can also be scary depending on who's doing the staring!

Did you know that many birds stop their mating dance if someone stares at them? Give the birds a little privacy, people!

Flickr photo by SaCaSeA

Back to fake eyes...
All kinds of insects and frogs and snakes and fish have fake eyes just for defensive purposes. Some of them flash their fake eyes at their enemy just to knock them off guard.

Flickr photo by saxonfenken

Or to make them think they're surrounded!

Flickr photo by kelpie1

Or that they're more powerful than they really are.

Flickr photo by Wilson Yang

Or just plain freaky, like this bug-eyed thing.

Flickr photo by Jen Salik
Oops. I didn't mean him. (Though he is kind of scary.)

I meant this big- eyed bug.

Flickr photo by mbm3290
I'd hate to find him under the covers.
Or the human one, for that matter. (No offense, bug- eyed guy. )

I myself am quite fond of fake eyes--especially those of the wiggle variety.
They have their place in life, and right now their place is on my son's stapler

And on his inhaler

And all over his room.
It's a birthday surprise for him to find when he comes home from camp.
Wiggle eyes just crack me up.

And so do these butterfly eyes!

Flickr photo by raelface
Have a Wonder-full Wednesday, y'all!
Love, Becky

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Watch Out! This One's A Yawner!

Today's Wonder of the World is...the Yawn!

Baby yawns are the sweetest!
In fact, this particular baby yawn inspired this post! Today is the sixteenth birthday of that yawning baby boy!
Happy Birthday, little six foot tall Ben!

You're at running camp, so I can't follow you around all day, retelling little Ben stories and imitating the precious speech impediment you had until you were five. How you used to call your sister YaYa and your favorite drink yemonade.
And I can't replay the scene from every night of your toddler-hood, when you'd stand at the foot of the stairs and beg, "Night night! Night night!"
Oh the joy of having at least one child who begs to go to bed!

So back to yawns...
The most wonder-full thing about yawns is how contagious they are!

Flickr photo by kath1313
Thanks Dr. Seuss, and your 1962 Dr. Seuss's Book of Sleep! How right you are!
We do it in every culture.

Flickr photo by Fahd Murtaza
We yawn when we're tired, bored, or when we see other people yawn.
It's called positive feedback, and we just can't seem to help ourselves.

People used to think yawning was caused by the body needing more oxygen, but no one has ever proven that.
Although they have proven that teenagers sometimes do it just to be sassy.
At least in my house.
(Not that my children would EVER be sassy. Oh no.)

If you ever want to watch me yawn, just put me on a stage in front of a room full of people as I'm about to speak about my book. Like right before this happened.

I always thought my incessant yawning before public speaking was my own unique weird little habit. But apparently I'm not the only person in the world who yawns when they're the least bit nervous! Wikipedia says that paratroopers sometimes yawn before they jump out of airplanes.
Yey! Other people are weird too!
(I wonder if other people ever experience inappropriate laughter? Just curious.)

I could go into a long explanation of some of the hypotheses for why we yawn, but frankly, reading them made me yawn.
Plus I've forgotten all the biochemistry I ever knew and don't want to look like a dumbo.

Instead, let's look at funny shots of animals yawning, shall we?

Here's Tanner the Slobber Dog. It's a fuzzy picture because he made me start yawning.

And here's a horse of course.

Flickr photo by lilredhorse33
Ooh. I bet his breath is nice.

I read that guinea pigs yawn to show their dominance or anger.
Flickr photo by pyza*
Or maybe he's just tired.
Still, I feel a little intimidated. Don't you?
Of course he could be irritated with me because I called him a guinea pig, and he's actually a hamster. Sorry, little fella, I always get you two confused.

I don't usually like it when dogs show me their teeth, even if they are just yawning. But this guy doesn't bother me.

Flickr photo by knitterj
In fact, I think he's hilarious.
So does this cat.

Flickr photo by dawneubanks2005
Unless he's just yawning and stretching.
Here's a vocabulary word of the day for you: pandiculation. Pandiculation means the act of stretching and yawning at the same time. It's what the cat is doing probably.
Either that or hee hawing about some goofy dog.

Seeing all this yawning makes me feel the need for pandiculation.
As in this illustration from one of my childhood favorites, Robert Louis Stevenson's A Child's Garden of Verses.

Night night! Night night!
(Another wonder of the world is the nap!)
But I must have some yemonade first!

Have a Wonder-full Tuesday, everyone!
Happy birthday Ben! And you too, Mom!
Love, Becky

Monday, July 28, 2008

Aw Shucks! It's Corn!

Today's Wonder of the World is...Corn! Of All Kinds!
(Except the kind on people's feet. That's just gross.)
Sorry to put that image in your mind.
Here, replace it with this.

Flickr picture by the trusty yak.

I've had corn on the brain ever since my husband jetted off to France for a business trip WITHOUT ME (couldn't I have come in handy to hold his laptop, or eat his leftovers at those business lunches, or something?) Since I was abandoned, I took the kids to the beach to mooch off --I mean spend quality time with--their grandparents. (Thanks Mom and Dad!) The first night we were there, my mother made us sweet corn and it was HEAVENLY! (Not quite as heavenly as confit de canard, but maybe the next best thing.)

Don't think I'm a flake

but I'm crazy about corn.

Flickr photo by ms jiji
I love how the ears are tucked away like secret gifts in the cornfields, complete with fine silk tassels, just waiting to be unwrapped.

Flickr photo by disneymike

I also LOVE that they're called ears!

Flickr photo by Perry Gerenday Photography

I even love cornfields, though I probably shouldn't.

Flickr picture by walla2chick
My very first job other than babysitting was in cornfields like this. The summer before my senior year in high school, I worked for the soil science department at NCSU. My job was to assist a grad student who was doing soil moisture experiments in cornfields across North Carolina.

Wait! Don't you nod off! Read on!
It involves pain and agony and being cussed out!

I was the most nonathletic city girl you could imagine, and there I was, marching through cornfields at 4:30am (to avoid the 100 degree summer temps,) getting paper cuts on my eyelids from the corn leaves, wearing a hat full of melting ice to keep cool, and digging eighteen inch deep holes with an auger at every plot! I developed arm muscles for the first (and last) time in my life! And not only that, but it was also the first time I got cussed out for a solid 15 minutes, all because I tripped and dropped the sample box, dumping out tins full of soil from over 150 holes! Woo hoo me!
Other than being cussed out, that job was actually kind of fun.
At least I remember it that way, sitting here in the air conditioning.

Before I go on, you have to see this. I love veggies with faces. Like this alien corn spy in a trench coat.

Flickr picture by Sascha Grant
At least that's what it looks like to me.

Did you know that the French don't eat corn? Except on the salade Americaine! One of my neighbors once told me that's because they consider corn to be animal feed.
That's okay! There's more for the rest of us!

Sweet corn is just like candy.
Like candy corn!

Flickr picture by jen m stewart

When it comes to corn, it's hard not to eat too much.

Flickr picture by Gordon Iowa
Do they make NutraSystem for squirrels?

I wonder what he'd do with this?

Flickr picture by Vannah Von Terror
It's Corn-henge! In Dublin, Ohio!

And here's another corn monument! To Corn Maiden Pallatanga, in the Andes Mountains.

Flickr picture by llhuicarnina
Hey! See what she's standing on? It's a Corn-ucopia!

When it comes to monuments to corn, of course nothing compares to South Dakota's Corn Palace! We went when I was a kid.

Flickr picture by bp1101

Though I think the Marina City Towers in Chicago might compare.

Flickr picture by supernova9
Don't the two of these look like ears of corn?

I also like baby corn.

Flickr photo by elsacapuntas
No, not that kind! Though that baby is awfully cute!

I mean this!

Flickr photo by Kimke
Remember Tom Hanks in the movie Big? That was priceless.

Okay, that does it. I'm going to have to go buy some corn.
I wish we had one of these!

Flickr photo by Cunning Stunt
Have a Wonder-full Monday, y'all!
Love, Becky

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Ridiculous Beauty

Today's Wonder of the World is...that I'm somehow able to love my husband, even though he went by himself on a business trip to our French hometown that is SO BEAUTIFUL THAT I'M IN PAIN!!!

That, my friends, is the view outside his hotel room.
Don't you just want to kill him? I do.
Well, I might be exaggerating just a tad.

But look at this!

Okay, now you want to kill him, don't you? He bought one of those millefeuilles and ate it right on the street!
I LOVE millefeuilles! (Americans call them Napoleons. They are absurdly delicious.)
The thought of him enjoying one without me makes me want to pull out all my hair! And then he'd have to look at me bald-- which is just what he deserves!

And if that isn't enough, look at this butcher's chop. I mean shop.
(Hey, that mistake is kind of funny.)
Look at it!

Does a butcher's shop deserve to be that beautiful?
Only if I'm there!

And here's rue des Gras, my favorite street in Clermont-Ferrand.

Did you notice the carving of the washing of the feet of the disciples? It's in an ordinary apartment wall! I've been in that apartment! Our French friend Mathilde made us foie gras in that apartment and it was AMAZING!

But I'm not there! I'm sitting here in muggy hot South Carolina (which I love. Don't get your feelings hurt, South Carolina) and Todd got to walk around rue des Gras and take that picture!

And look!
There's Notre Dame du Port!

In all it's ruffly, 11th century magnificence!

And look at this average home!

With an average cat!

If my sweet husband expects much in the way of kisses, I'm just not sure I can oblige.

Unless he speaks French to me. And makes me French coffee.

Ooh la la! Here he comes with a cup in hand!
Have a Wonder-full Weekend, y'all!

Much love, (French coffee will do that to you!)