Sunday, September 9, 2007

Pugs, Party, People and Things . . . .

This week began with a very interesting phenomenon. I was looking out the kitchen window as I was washing dishes and there was a constant stream of winged somethings flying up from just below my sight. Going out to investigate, I saw a small boulder near the the house that was covered with flying ants and wingless ants. They were swarming up out of the ground and onto that rock and flower pots nearby. I looked up on the Net and found that it was, in fact, an "ant swarm". Occasionally, when an ant colony is very healthy and it has abundant food, thousands of winged females will be produced. As with bees, only one female breeds and lays eggs within the entire colony so when there are extra females a "swarm" occurs. They all come to the surface, sometimes with the red colored workers pushing them out, (see the photo) and they all fly away. Most die, but some survive to start new colonies. This went on for hours and I happy I was able to witness it.
I have a friend at work who was born and raised in Colombia, South America and his name is Filepe. He's been telling me about South American food and on Friday surprised me with a bag of produce from a Hispanic grocery store in Milwaukee. We had just talked about the difference between Colombian and Guatemalan plantains (like large bananas) and the many varieties of bananas there are. In the bag there were the two kinds of plantains, manzans rojas (red bananas), baby bananas (mini bananas) and two mangoes. Plantains are used like potatoes in many countries and are cooked in all three color stages - green, yellow, and black. I took a yellow speckled one and sliced it up, fried it in little butter and added a touch of sugar and cinnamon. Delicious! The taste is somewhat like bananas, but not as strong. The fruit is so pretty in the deep red bowl, that I just had to include it.
Of course, Thea was very intrigued with the fruit and wanted to get in on the act.

Poor pug - she needs a mini banana!
Garm looked so sad that . . . .

Dad began to cheer him up but, someone was VERY jealous. If looks could kill . . . .

Today I hosted our multi-birthday celebration. My sister Cindy, nephew Guy, brother Emery and I all have birthdays in August and September so we thought we'd combine them into a big Family Outing (but it was at my house) celebration.
I made this 7-Layer Salad Saturday night and . . .
if you look closely, there are some bright eyes in the background checking out that delicious smell!
And here are some of the people at the party:

Brother Em and his wife Marianne,
nephew Guy and his girlfriend Erica,
brother-in-law (Cindy's husband) Kris glued to the Packer game,

Garm getting affection from Miako.( I apologize to Miako for spelling her name wrong in a previous Family Outing post. It is pronounced My-ka, but is spelled Miako.)
And Thea ignoring /being ignored by Jesse.

Just lovely present bags that sister Sue made up. She does such a wonderfully thoughtful job of choosing just the right colors and accessories for each person. And the added floral touches are so pretty. I also made a gift bag up for Cindy but was too embarrassed to show it next to Sue's. Mine looked pitiful!

Here's Susie. She loves going on EBay and getting deals on old fashioned ornaments and things. I have a huge collection of Santa figurines from Steve and Sue thought these bottle brush trees from the 50s would add a nice touch among them. She also included the Father Christmas and Coyote (they told her it was a coyote) figure to add to my big array. Doesn't Father Christmas look like he's scolding the coyote??

This is a really fun and funny gift Cindy gave me. He is a solar powered garden sculpture and his eyes light up at night! He actually looks much nicer, more real-wood-like in person. I have never seen one like that and I've got to admit he could be kind of creepy with just those buggy eyes glowing! Truthfully, doesn't he look a lot like that decidedly strange Burger King guy?

Thank you Cindy!

I didn't get any pictures of niece Kelly or Steve. There was a lot going on and I was busy with the meal and all. Unfortunately, the mosquitoes are so bad we couldn't spend much time at all outside. Just a quick walk through the gardens and then back in.
I'm glad I got a chance to see and visit with everyone and celebrate our lives together!
I love to feel events overlapping each other, crawling
over one another like wet crabs in a basket.
Lawrence Durrell - 1912-90, Balthazar (1958)
Bye for now,


DeeMom said...

I had those mini bananas when I was in the Caribbean, the particular one I had was said to have a slight pineapple taste. Our tour Guide said there were at least 72 variants of bananas on the island.

Your Salad is so colorful.

Looks like all, cats, pugs and people, had a good time.

kate said...


It looks as if you had a wonderful party. I loved the pictures of your family, Thea and Garm wanted in on the action. The seven-layer salad must have been delicious. It looked wonderful. These kinds of gatherings are always memorable - I liked your presents too!!

Seeing the ant in action must have been great fun!

I didn't realise there were different plantains ...

Alyssa said...

Dee - You're right
the tiny bananas have a slightly different taste than regular ones. Wow, 72 different kinds on one island! I read there are at least 500 varieties of banana.

Kate - Yes it was lots of fun. Steve and I finished off the salad after work tonight. I love it. I'm learning a lot about new fruits and vegetables from my Hispanic friends.

Mary said...


I usually check out blogs on my lunch hour. Today I'm not eating because I had a mid-morning snack. That SALAD looks so good...

What is it about Garm's face? He's so cute and I am sure he can't be as unhappy as he looks. Your pugs make me laugh every time I look at them! There are always there in the middle of the action or standing behind it. Food. What dogs love. I think they live to eat.

It's so nice to gather with your family and friends to celebrate birthdays. We are far from our families now and don't see them often. But, when we do, we make up for it.

Alyssa said...

Mary - The salad was a winner! I think everybody loves Garm's big ole "sad sack" look. And he is a real laid back sweetie. He just wants to be loved. That naughty Thea is always sticking her little face in snack bowls. They are such opposites.

I'm sorry you don't see your family as much as you'd like. That has to be hard for you - I know it would be for me.

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