31 October 2008

TGR Exotics - Pumpkin Scaring

On the weekend before Halloween, Trinhity & Daddy had a date: we attended a special evening dinner + tour of TGR Exotics, the exotic animal farm where we've taken the munchkins for the Pumpkin Patch excursion.

That's a coatimundi, a Latin American raccoon.

CREDITS: we owe *huge* props to the Mama-san for enabling our lovely evening together. Thank you, Mama. Sincerely.

So about the evening: they served BBQ catered by Goode Company, which Daddy enjoyed immensely. Gwen, one of the owners, then took a relatively small group on a nighttime tour of the farm.

We saw binturongs (a SE Asian bearcat) and sloths, got licked by a friendly tamandua (an anteater)...

...and chased by a very affectionate African Crested Porcupine.

Petunia, the porcupine, is really a family pet, and she's very sweet. Several people on the tour were petting her (one direction only, mind you), and Trinh was very brave -- she wanted to pet her too!

We entered the enclosure together. Petunia's pretty social, and all this excitement had her riled up. Before I had a chance to get Trinh settled, Petunia started chasing her! I have to admit: it's downright disconcerting to be chased by a bundle of quivering quills, affectionate or not. We didn't stay long with her, but it was memorable.

Trinh says that her favorite animals were the kangaroos...although I think this is really a wallaroo:

My hands-down favorite was Sindu, their Bengal Tiger. They've had her since she was 5 weeks old, so she's almost part of the family...a 500lb lap cat. It's the closest I've ever been to a big cat. I was...in awe.

I also couldn't shake that poem by Blake, and I wanted desperately to share it with Trinh -- but I couldn't quite remember the whole thing, and I wasn't ready to attempt to explain "fearful symmetry" to a 3 year old.

All things in due time. I hope someday she'll be ready for Dreamtigers, too.

After the tour, Gwen and her husband Troy brought out two of their other favorite pets, a Black and White Ruffled Lemur...

and Mango, a capuchin...

Last but not least, we spent a few minutes playing a new game: Pumpkin Scaring!

Many thanks to Gwen and Troy for a truly lovely evening. You've got a special place -- thanks for sharing it. We'll be back again if you'll have us!

Rules of the House

Tonight at dinner, Trinh & Mommy were discussing rules. Trinh announced that when we get old, we will be permitted to live with her -- but since it'll be her house, we'll have to follow her rules.

Rule #1: we're going to have a TV.
Rule #2: someone always has to help you go potty.
Rule #3: you never have to eat vegetables in your fried rice.

We suspect there will be more rules. Stay tuned.

26 October 2008

Gloria Lives in Antarctica!

[Daddy here]
It's a strange affliction, particularly for a mountain boy from a landlocked state. You see, I've always harboured a secret passion for sea shanties.

I collect them. It's only a modest collection; relatively speaking, there really aren't that many. I'm not sure my wife even knows. She probably wouldn't mind, at least so long as I don't force her to listen.

Me, I like to sing them. Loudly. Usually when I'm alone in the house.

Occasionally I sing them for the kids, but I leave out the bawdy verses. These being sailor's songs, that severely limits the number of available verses. In fact, it kills most of my repertoire.

Trinh & I were pretending to be pirates during the bath tonight, so I started belting out "South Australia." She joined in, which pleased me immensely. [Tangent: she also knows most of the words to John Kanakanaka, which I'm sure will do irreparable harm to her reputation in 7th grade.]

However, it took me a few moments to realize (I was singing loudly, you see) that she wasn't singing "South Australia", but instead was singing the refrain of "Gloria."

No, not the Van Morrison version. No, she was singing the "Gloria" song popularized by Laura Branigan in the '80s. Yes, she knows that one, too.

Thing is, I think she's onto something. Here's a mystery that should keep a musicologist awake for a few nights: could a mainstream hit from 1983 (that's actually a cover of an Italian song) be loosely patterned after a sea shanty from the 1880s? Behold:

"...in South Austral-i-a I was born [heave away, haul away]"
"...singing Glor-i-a [Gloria! Gloria!]"

See what I mean? It's there, I'm telling you. Granted I'd never have noticed were it not for Trinh's singing tonight, but I was astounded at how easily the two songs mash-up.

Anyway, back to the bath: Trinh has a stuffed duck that she imagines to be a penguin. It's named "Gloria" after the character in Happy Feet. We talk about Gloria a lot

When I stopped to take a breath, Trinhity looked up and said, "Daddy, that's silly. Gloria doesn't live in South Australia -- she lives in Antarctica!"

24 October 2008

Big Gurl Blues

Yesterday at Nhà Ông Bà, Tài Tài was playing with one of his toys, and Trinh Trinh wanted to play with it too. Mama & Ông both told her, "No, that's Tài Tài's toy!"

She was sad and wandered off to mope.

Later, since she was still bummed, Mama pulled her into her lap for a snuggle. She asked, "Trinh, will you tell Mommy what's the matter?"

With a heavy sigh she said, "Mommy, sometimes it's hard to be a big girl. Sometimes you just want to be a baby."

Awww, poor thing. And just wait until 7th grade...

23 October 2008

Penguins and Mermaids

"Daddy," said Trinh at breakfast this morning, "I have a question. Who do you think swims faster: mermaids, penguins...or Trinh?"

20 October 2008

Pumpkin Patch #1: the Teaser

We took the munchkins to the pumpkin patch at TGR Exotics again this year. We've already been back for a second go!
This is a teaser from the first visit...more to come!
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A Fix For All That Ails Ya

Daddy had a rotten day a week or two back, can't even remember why now. But in an only slightly-Mommy-instigated effort to un-grumpy the Daddy Monster, Trinh whipped up "Daddy's Favorite" lunch: a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

I admit to enjoying the odd PB&J 'wich, but I can say without qualm that this was easily the best one I've ever had. EVER.

But the sandwich wasn't the best part of this gift. No, that would be the 'gift card' she wrote for me. It's hard to see in those shots -- let's take a closer look...

Ah, yes. As she explained, "That's Trinh Trinh (on the right) and Tai Tai (on the left), and there's a heart for "I love you". And Tai Tai doesn't really have that much hair, but I just went (universal sign for 'scribble, scribble, scribble')."

That there's a fix for all that ails me.

16 October 2008

Why Daddy Likes Fishing

Trinhity's still on her Happy Feet kick, still pretending to be a penguin. In fact, she *will* be a penguin for Halloween -- stay tuned for those pix, they'll rock.

Today at breakfast, completely out of the blue, she asked me, "Daddy, do you like to go fishing for trout?" I hadn't been aware that she knew the word "trout" as a distinct sub-species of fish.

You might have expected otherwise given my life-long obsession with fly fishing, but I've actually been hyper-sensitive about over-playing my hand. I would dearly love for the kids to fish, but I'm trying hard not to foist my passions onto them unbidden.

So I forced down the rising flood of excitement at my daughter voicing the word "trout" and said casually, "Yes, dear, I do."

"I know why you like fishing, Daddy! It's because you're a penguin like me! You're the Daddy penguin and I'm your little cưng cưng ("beloved child", more or less) penguin. And penguins eat fish! Penguins eat fish without cooking them....like sushi!"

Uh, yeah...er, ummm...

Yesterday as we were all getting ready in the morning, Trinhity picked out a cute outfit: a green tank top with flowers and jean capris with little white bows. She put it on herself; we congratulated her on being a big guuurl and said that she looked very cute. She was pleased.

Then Huong asked, "Does Mommy look cute too?" She had just finished nursing the Mancub and was changing clothes herself, wasn't exactly put together.

Trinh paused, looked her up and down, then said, "Uh, yeah...er, Mommy...umm, ah...well, your pants look nice..."

Where do they learn these nuanced sensitivities? Remarkable....

08 October 2008


Trinh intended this to be a 'gift card' for her friends across the street, Camila & Sofia, but Daddy loved it and stole a virtual copy.

She wrote "TtHB" across the top. That's "T for Trinhity and little t for Tai Tai and H for Mommy and B for Daddy!", she explained. The little person is Tai Tai, since he doesn't have much hair. How sweet is this?