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Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Drive-In

Hello, I'm Phil T. Bear and I'm one and a half! And, last night, we went to the Drive-In for the first time in my whole life, even if Spauld and Ted have gone before.

What's a Drive-In? Same thing I asked. A Drive-In is when you take your car to the movies, but you stay in it and watch the movie on a really big screen in front of the car. (If you're seeing the screen out your back window, you've parked wrong.)

There aren't many around anymore, so this one is an hour away. It was also the first time I left my home state, too. We drove over a really big bridge with a river under it. The Delaware River's so big, I'm not sure I could swim across, but Spaulding told me no one wants to swim across it there.

And, wow, I'm telling you, if you've never been to New Jersey, you're missing a magical place! People in New Jersey must be really rich. They're houses aren't even attached to their neighbor's houses. They got these things called "side yards" and these other things called "front yards." And they have grass all over the place, and trees, and bushes, and sidewalks, not just for everybody to walk on, but special sidewalks that they walk on to avoid grass when walking to their front doors. Why have grass if you don't want to walk on it? But, anyways, it's amazing to see!

And some of them must be really, really rich, a'cuz they don't even have neighbors! They have woods and fields! And, there's nothing in the fields but shrubs and tall grass. Nothing at all!

And, and, and, they have these thingies all along the roads called "strip malls." And, they have to drive to them, because everyone has so much land, and who's gonna walk that far with so much space between houses? And, once they get there, they can park their cars, drop off their laundry for something called a "dry cleaner." Imagine! Someone else doing your laundry! And, then you can walk to the next store and rent a movie. Imagine, renting movies without a mailbox! And, then you can walk to the beary next store and spend just a dollar for anything in the store. I wonder if they have hotdogs?! And, and, and, then you walk to the beary next store and buy a pizza. Yeah! I'm telling you! Strip malls have pizza parlors in them, just like we have on street corners.

Now, we did have Mommy and Daddy stop in one strip mall. (There's a whole lot of them in New Jersey.) Well, they had to stop. We had driven a good 15 minutes, so we were hungry, and it had a Weiner joint. You know you're in fancy place when people call their hotdogs "wieners," but we weren't fooled. They were hotdogs. We ate them all.

And another 15 minutes later, Mommy and Daddy stopped for dinner at a diner. At least, New Jersey has dinners, too. So, while they ate, we were hungry and went into the kitchen. Apparently, every diner knows my brothers. They didn't even ask to be introduced to me, until the hotdogs were grilling. AND, they had one of the kids (who was really, really old) take the truck to buy more hotdogs, a'cuz they knew we were going to eat all they had. And … we did. Yummers!

So, we were stuffed afterwards, but we're always stuffed! We're stuffed animals, after all. And, 15 minutes later, we stopped off at a WaWa. Did you know a WaWa is a convienent store? All this time I thought it was a morning coffee, but the coffee was named for the store. (I also thought the store was named for the coffee.) We polished off the WaWa hotdogs, too.

So, we finally got to the Drive-In! It was a bit dicey until dark. There were people walking around checking out cars, and we were afraid they might bearnap us, until Mommy s'plained they were making sure people paid extra if they brought their own snacks, like we did. Apparently, the cost to see the movie is collected by the studios and the movie place's moneymaker is the snacks. But, we brought our own popcorn and muffins, a'cuz popcorn at the movies has too much salt and fat. BUT, when Mommy and Daddy weren't looking, we polished off the hotdogs there too. We would have polished them off twice, but we only stayed for one movie.

So, before the sun went down we watched people throwing all kinds of stuff – baseballs, footballs, and even these things called "Frisbees." That's sorta like a pie pan made out of plastic. Matter of fact, Daddy taught us that they were pie pans when people started throwing them. And, we saw why Americans rarely win soccer games. (I know, that's "football" everywhere else, but, if you ever saw an American kid kicking around a soccer ball, you'd know we have to call it something different. It's just not the same.)

And, and, and, the movie sound came over our radio, so we had to listen to the right channel, and we bears got our floppy on, when dancing to the oldies before it got dark out.

But, of course, we came to see The Prince of Persia and then Robin Hood, so it was really exciting when the Star Spangle Banner started playing, until … another car pulled in next to us. Our radio turned to static. We forgot someone stole our antenna, again. We don't need the antenna too often, a'cuz we have a CD player, so we forgot.

Mommy volunteered to go rent a radio. We couldn't hear any of the Previews while she was gone. We collected out quarter when she came back and used colorful language. We tried to get her to use more colorful language, but she's wise to us, and just smiles, before handing over the money. She wanted to leave. It seems people wait until the last minute to get their snacks, too, and there isn't a separate line for rented radios and chairs. It was a beary long line!

BUT, Daddy saved the day. He inched the car up a little, and we got sound. Later on, we found out it was only beary loud sound. We didn't care. The quiet sound was the two main characters talking mushy stuff. We were there for the action. And there was lots of action – sword fights, battles, chase scenes, and even a special kinda race. (I'd tell you more, but don't want to give any of the plot away, but they weren't racing like you're thinking.) AND, it had magic in it! What else could a guy want to see in a movie? Oh, wait – no stuffed animals and there was yucky kissy stuff. Still, it's a beary good movie for the whole family to see.

It wasn't over until close to midnight. Mommy and Daddy decided to go home before seeing Robin Hood. We would have complained, but we were falling asleep. I was a bit disappointed, a'cuz I hoped to see more of New Jersey on the way home, but they don't have something over there that we have – streetlights! Well, they only have streetlights if we're coming up on an exit, so there was only darkness and the road.

That's the last thing I remembered seeing. I fell asleep before going over the big bridge again. I woke up with my honey, Lee in my arms. It just doesn't get better than that.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

"Elder" Explorers as told by Spaulding, Teddy, and Phil

Yesterday, our sons referred to Teddy as an "elder." We need to clear this up. Spaulding is ten, Teddy is eight and Phil is one and a half. Ding is nine and Tee is seven. So, whooooooooooooo are the "elders?" Just saying!

So, anyway, as "elders," we have to be more productive when we explore the garden. We're still kids and teddy bears, so we're having fun, but we're productive in our fun. We explore to see how everything is growing. Our Garden Gals need full reports, even if they come out every day to check, too. So, here is what we do in the garden.

This is fun to climb, but we're checking out the asters. The leaves are nice and soft when they're little, kinda like Lamb's Ear. These asters are called "Wonder of Staffa." We've had them for two years and are still wondering who or what Staffa is.

Another good excuse to climb. Our pea vine is starting to bloom. Too bad it's not a bean vine. Who knows? We could find a giant at the top.

Can you see the flowers by Phil's left foot? They smell as pretty as Sweet Peas. The peas start popping out right out of the flower. We took this picture last week, and ate the two snap peas in a stir-fry last night. We would have showed you the peas, but it's been rainy. More flowers and peas are coming now, so, if it would quit raining, we can take a picture, eventually.

Underneath our pea vine are tomatoes. Spaulding is demonstrating how tall our one tomato plant is. He can hide under it.

Here are our other tomatoes. We bought all five tomatoes on the same day, but these aren't as tall. We found a couple surprises though.

Phil is looking at our first tomato flower. It's right above his left paw.

Teddy is showing what else we're growing in that container. He's touching one, while pointing at another. We bought onion sets this year, and are hoping the onion smell will discourage squirrels from eating our maters. That and onions tasteses good, too.

Remember how Phil saved some dill when we were weeding? He has become the official dill keeper now. That's Phil's dills.

And, since Teddy's wife is Valentine, the stuffed bunny, Teddy has to check on her carrots, too. They sure look ready to eat to us!

We have a swing in our garden. Well, it's not a regular swing. It holds our patio tomato, because we don't have a patio. Phil's swinging and checking the tomato's progress.

Right below the swing is our Red Romaine lettuce. It's now big enough to make a soft landing, when Phil jumps off the swing.

It finally got warm enough at night to bring out the aloe. Aloe isn't supposed to be that big, but Mommy left it away from direct sunlight for too long, so it grew into the sunlight. After this picture was taken, we cut back its roots and transplanted her babies. She had three more babies last winter. We also checked out the bay and other herbs.

Spaulding checked out our English Lamb's Ear. We bought it last year, and it didn't do anything, include grow. Now look how big it is! And it's about to flower. Regular Lamb's Ear doesn't bloom magenta flowers. (We're married, so we've learned girlie words for pink.) If you look closely at the top of the stalks on the right, you can see the one ready to bloom.

He came back out two days later to have his picture taken with the blooming flowers. (Okay, something weird is happening. The phot os prepared to fit horizontally through out photo fixing program, but when we upload it, it keeps uploaing vertically, ans side way. We can't fix it, so look at it side ways. Sorry.)

Two days later, it was ready to rain, so Daddy took this picture without Spaulding coming out.

And that's how "the elderly" explore our garden.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Young Explorers as told by Ding and Tee

We take after our parents. We like exploring, too.

We explore the tall jungles.

Some times, we take our elders with us, when we explore dense jungles.

The denser the jungle, the more we like it.

Yes, we're really in there. See?

If it's over our heads, we like it.

It doesn't have to be thick.

We like discovering cool things when we explore. See whom we found in the Jade?

They're hiding, but to Tee's left is Mrs. Turtle and her two children.

We introduced you to who we found yesterday – Sonny, the Hide N' Seek loving teddy bear, in our garden.

Not all bears are teddy bears. This is Mama Black Bear and her child in the basil and dill. (We don't know if her child is a boy or a girl. We don't want to insult a black bear by asking.)

And, not all the creatures in our garden are bears. We introduced you to Sleeping Gnome yesterday. Our Daddies found him in the woods on a vacation years ago. He was Woodland Gnome back then, but we've renamed him, for obvious reasons.

Now do you know why we needed to rest yesterday? Exploring is hard work.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Hide N' Seek with New Neighbors

As you know, we own a hotel – Hotel NOLA – for wayward, lost, homeless, or visiting animals. We've built and maintained it through our own money. Money we collect from our Jeopardy winnings or from charging People on TV (or Mommy and Daddy) for using colorful language.

But what happens to our guests, if they need a new start? Warm-blooded animals can start in our park, since our Hotel exists in Teddy Bear World, right smack in the middle of FDR Park, in Philly. (Come and visit, if you're an animal. Sorry, if you're People, you can't see it. That's how Teddy Bear World works.)

If our guests are stuffed animals looking for a new home, we discovered groups of People, who are always looking for stuffed animals to give to children in crisis. (This is true in People World, so, if you need to find new homes for some of your stuffed animals, clean them up and send them to these People. They always need more.) Firefighters, the Police, and Crisis Counseling Centers give stuffed animals to scared kids. (Smart ones give them to scared grown-ups, too.) Think how important those Stuffies become to their new mommies and daddies.

But there are more kinds of lost, homeless, and wayward animals than these. Some are figurines, statues, and Christmas tree decorations. We don't discriminate. We take in all kinds of animals.

We've been bringing home many of those lost and wayward animals (and some gnomes) through the years. You've met our Christmas tree neighbors during the holidays. Others guard our garden. We consider them our neighbors and play with them. Today we played Hide N' Seek with some old and new neighbors.

Here we are sitting with Yankee, Dandy, Doodle, and their pet, Gauge, the Turtle. Gauge used to be a rain gauge, until his glass tube broke.

Meet our newest neighbors – Mama Bear holding Baby Bear, with Sonny and Sunny next to them. This is where they stay in storms. We've invited them in, but they prefer outside. You can tell it was cloudy out. That's when the Tradescantia blooms the most.

But that's not how we first saw them on our garden. At first, we exploring the garden, when we discovered Mama and Baby under our Hens and Chicks. We sat with them to see how they were doing.

Our sons got bored and decided to relax in the Hens and Chicks. The black cat is Teddy's son, Tee, with GI Ding in his action-figure carrier. The Teddy Bear is Spaulding's son, Ding, with GI Ding in his action-figure carrier. (They told us to make sure everyone knows "they are not dolls! They are action-figures." If their sisters "borrow" them, they like to play dollies with them.)

Ding and Tee got bored of relaxing, too, so they hopped over to the next container – our spinach. They heard someone counting, so they peaked over and met Sonny, ready for a game of Hide N' Seek.

They shouted, "Hide N' Seek!" We did what comes nature for Teddy Bears; we hide. Is Sonny peaking?

Spaulding found a good place to hide. Well, he thought it was a good place, until he found Sunny counting. She likes Hide N' Seek, too.

"I tried here next, but I don't think it's a good place to hide, if Mommy can take my picture." Sleeping Gnome isn't hiding. He sleeps.

Teddy and the boys tried here, but had the same problem. "It can't be a hood hiding place, if Mommy takes our picture."

Spaulding tried another spot. "It's tough being so big!"

"This really is a good hiding place! Grandpa was just taking a picture, and never saw us."

We hide behind the broccoli. It was a great place to hide, until Spaulding shouted when he spotted the chamomile starting to sprout.

We'd show you our really good hiding spots, but then Mommy would just take pictures of us, the next time we played.

We love our new neighbors. They're lots of fun. We'll show you how else we play in our garden, too. Until next time,…count to ten! Kehehehehehe

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Vegetable Progress

We've been telling you that our garden is mostly for fresh veggies. We worked all day to dig out our photos from the last month. Living in the city, we can start gardening earlier than anyone around the city, so we're doing all right already. (Excuse the messy photo layout. Blogspot is a pain to get to work right.)

Our bush beans didn't sprout very fast for some reason. We also had an extra container, so started a new batch of beans a couple of weeks later.

Here's our lettuce. On the right is our Butterhead Bibb lettuce. On the right is Rare Red Romaine. (Honest! It's rare. It said so on the seed package!)
Our bulb onions are in the back, and last year's green onions are in the front.

We sowed 16 peas. One pea plant sprouted. It's doing well though.

Here is our spinach.

Here is our tomato container on the right and Valentine's carrots on the left. We didn't buy the tomatoes until the beginning of of May, but we already sewed the carrot seeds in that first photo.
We'll show more ASAP. Stay tuned.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Exploring as told by the Garden Gals

Mommy is slow. We're fast. We're beary, beary fast, so Mommy couldn't catch us planting our garden; however, we slowed down enough for her to take pictures of us exploring it. This is the first year for Lee in our garden. She was adopted for Phil on Christmas, so we've been introducing her to everything gardening. Now, Daddy took the great pictures, but some of these were taken by Mommy, too. It's been a few weeks since these pictures were taken, but, like we said, "Mommy is slow."
Daddy found us climbing the Clematis. Can you see all three of us?
Here's a closer look. Lady is in the leaves below Valentine.
Daddy checked the photos to see if Lady could be seen, and found out it was hard, so he took our pictures individually. Here's Lady.
And Valentine.
And Lee. (We told you Daddy took the great pictures!)
Our Tradescantia is blooming. Isn't it beautiful? Isn't it more beautiful with such lovely Garden Gals in the middle? Here's Lady relaxing.
Valentine was playing with the leaves.
Lee tickled her toes.
We found our chives blooming, so we took a sniff. The flowers are pretty, but smell oniony.
We had to smell something better, so chose these bellflowers, next. The aroma is light, but pretty. Much nicer than chive flowers. Valentine is sitting on another plant that will flower later in the year – foxglove.
We felt like someone was watching, so we climbed into the next container. Who's this? We have a new garden protector. She's a little bear, who likes to play hide n' seek, too. She's a bit shy, so hasn't told us her name yet. But, where is Valentine?
Being a bunny, Valentine's mind is always on carrots. This is our carrot container, but the seeds were sown the week before, so we didn't expect carrots yet. BUT, Valentine is attentive.
Can you see what she saw?
Sorry. Our camera doesn't do really close, close-ups, so the picture is blurry. Still, those little green blurs are the carrots coming in. Valentine is bouncy with excitement.
We fed the birds, too. Most of our birds are house wrens. There are other birds, who think they're hiding from us. They did hide from us, but Mommy took a picture of them. They're the pigeons on the fences. Three of them on our neighbor's fences, so they don't think they can be seen. They're a little too big to hide.

More pictures coming. Keep checking back.