Sunday, May 2, 2010

So, A Bunch of Italians and a Polack Went To the Zoo...

It is no secret that I love being surrounded by my family, but it's especially wonderful when I get to see my favorite aunt and uncle for the first time in nearly 5-1/2 years!

Twenty or more years ago the key family groups of Ferraras all moved from Long Island, seemingly at the same time.  Life was never the same after my paternal grandfather died, followed four years later by my beloved grandmother.  The ties that held us close together were broken and everyone was ready to start fresh somewhere new.  My brother and his family took off for Florida, then soon after, my parents, Jill and I joined them in the Sunshine State.  Aunt Barbara and Uncle David took off for to Utah, where Uncle David re-established his business in chemical sales (cleaning stuff?  Not even sure) in Salt Lake.

The last time we saw them was at my cousin David's wedding in Utah in 2004.  Way too much time was allowed to pass!

So imagine my glee when they announced they were coming down for a visit!! So yep, a couple of weeks ago Aunt Barbara and Uncle David (yes, the annoying one from Facebook) flew down to visit and stayed with us for four wonderful nights.  It was so amazing how within 30 seconds of being with them it was like time had stood still.  We went right back to our old rapport.  Even the kids latched on to them as if they'd only seen them last week.

I think I've mentioned before that Uncle David is a bit mental, just like the rest of us Ferraras.  We all have "conditions", "syndromes", "maladies", "disorders", "quirks" "phobias", "afflictions", and/or "dementia".

Are we not the coolest?

Anyhoodle, Uncle David is a bit of a freak about anything that goes into his mouth, moreso after losing a kidney and a 17 pound encapsulated cancerous tumor last year.

While he was here I learned the benefits of:

  • Everything organic.  Gotta stay away from those horrible pesticides.

  • Not only brushing the dirt off the mushrooms, but washing them thoroughly because they're grown in flats of pure poop.

  • Washing all fruits with soap and water, even the ones where the skin or peel is not eaten, as in an orange.  Come on... those pesticides and such are now on your hands from peeling it and then you're going to eat the juicy insides with that crap on your digits.

  • Nitrite and nitrate-free hot dogs.  Sure, that funky chemical isn't in your food, but you have to cook all the hot dogs, and either eat them or throw them away because they don't have enough preservatives to even keep them frozen.

  • Fructose and cane juice is your friend.
  • Whole milk is much better to use in my coffee, rather than the fat-free 1/2 and 1/2 that I love.  Look at the label!  They add corn syrup to that crap!

I tell ya what, while they were here my colon was in overdrive from all the organic granola and nuts I was snacking on.

Jill came over the second day of their visit and we had a great time just hanging out doing nothing.  I made a fairly fabulous dinner of chicken marsala that everyone devoured.

Upon Jill's arrival, she was promptly dispatched to bring Uncle David to Starbucks for his required afternoon latte.  Did I mention that one of Uncle David's afflictions is that he is unable to make his own cup of coffee, even after being shown exactly how to use the Keurig machine?  Uh huh, it's true.  He's actually too dumb  frickin' lazy to make his own coffee, so I spent much of my time as an unpaid barista.

The next day they wanted to go to the zoo.  Since I'd never been to the Jacksonville zoo and the weather was very warm, but not hot, I was excited to go.  We let the girls take a day off from school, and off we went with lunch and drinks packed in a cooler.

The zoo was beautiful but I was a little disturbed by how small some of the habitats are.  But, I still got some great shots of the fuzzbutts.

Okay, so these guys aren't fuzzy, but they sure are cute!

The animals were all so active because of the mild weather!

 Awwww... Madison found a baby bunny hiding in the mulch!

Look at how gorgeous this pair is!

 Girlfriend needed a drink...

 Check out this look she gave me!

 The giraffes were so beautiful.

 And the girls got to feed them!

This bird was so cool.  She led us down a path to the otter exhibit and then stood right next to me.  Aunt Barbara, having a fear of birds ever since their parrot, Rusty, bit her, kept scuffling away from my friend.

 "Barbara, does this carousel display make me look fat?"

 Madison brushed a cute little goat.

 Uncle David, resting in the sun.

This little guy was picking his nose and eating it.  From the look on his face I'd say it didn't taste very good.

It wasn't all fun and games while they were here.  There was also relaxation time, or what I like to call, "Aunt Barbara ignoring all the annoying people."

 See?  She's doing it again!  Uncle David looks to be contemplating the air quality.

One of the funniest things happened while I was taking a nap.  How could I miss something this good?  Thank goodness Aunt Barbara had the intelligence to grab the camera as soon as she heard screaming from outside.

"Barbara!  Help!!!!  The chair broke!  I can't get up!!!"

"It's like this.  I sat down, went to Facebook to take over Justine's account, and the chair bent over!"

"Look, I don't care if I was wrong to leave snarky updates on my niece's account.  Get me up and stop taking pictures!"

"Okay okay, I guess you're right and I do deserve the position I'm in.  Can you help me up now?"

"Oh, what have I ever done to be so forsaken?"

 "Okay!  I give up!  It's funny!  Really funny!  Can you help me up now so I can delete all of those pictures you just took?"

Did I mention that Uncle David lives just a few blocks away from my good friend, Pooba?  Good luck to ya Kelly, now that he knows exactly where you live!  And guess what Poo?  The aunt and uncle invited my girls to spend a week with them in July and I may just send them over to your house to decompress after spending hours in close proximity to my uncle. 

So there ya have it.  Most of our visit with Aunt Barbara and Uncle David.  I can't wait until they come back again!

No, really.  I'm serious!

Pssst! If you love me, you might love my stupid sister more. Go visit her at Jill's Believe it or Not, and tell her I sent you!

14 "Sister" Lovin' Friends Said:

  • Chris

    I already knew when I visied you I'd be laughing outloud, as Norm looks at me like I have lost it. But, I have to tell you those animal photos are just beautiful. And also, every time I see a later photo of your girls, they are more beautiful than the last time.

    Love Ya,

  • Happy To Be/ Gl♥ria

    How fun for you Justine to have your family time...and your Uncle is too funny serves him righ ha ha!! Girl I loved seeing the zoo...I have a friend that has 2 giraffes and they are so sweet he also has a mountain lion named Molly that's been declawed and lives in his house ha ha!! Goes to the door when it wants out to potty...I pray all is well in your world today my Dear friend...Hugs and smiles Gl♥ria

  • bj

    O, I really enjoyed this sweet post, Tiney. I can see how you love your family...
    We used to go to the zoo when the grands were all little (nearest one to us is a 3 hr. drive) but we haven't been in awhile. Think I will plan on taking them all sometime this summer.
    Hope things are going good for you!!
    xo bj

  • Grand Pooba

    ohmigod I know them! We used to live next door to each other and I would borrow eggs from the all the time!

    Ok so I'm lying. But now I feel like I know them. Obviously they are cool because they live in Utah.

    Hey, how did you get so close up pictures! The photos are incredible!

  • Shelia

    Hi Justiney! Oh, honey, you're back! Here you go making me laugh and now I need to go pee so badly! :)
    What fun and auntie and uncle! I would have loved to have been eavesdropping on you all!
    Now I must tell you, I can't believe how big the girls are! When did that spurt of grown and young ladiness happen? Man, time is flying by. You're gonna have to get out the baseball bat and start bopping the boys on the head. They're gonna be after these two little beautiful ones.
    Glad to have you back, Justiney! :)
    kiss kiss hug hug and
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

  • Sophia

    SO glad that you were able to see your aunt and uncle! As always, your posts just CRACK ME UP! It doesn't matter what mood I am in, your ability to make me laugh....LOVE it! :)

    I love your pictures. The girls look like that had a super time at the zoo. LOVE the bunny in the mulch, too. Hee

    Happy Sunday. I love you and miss you and am sorry I have been lousy on email. I really have not emailed ANYONE in weeks and weeks. So sorry. I will try to catch up with you this week.

    Much love, my best BLOGGER friend. I appreciate your undying love and support.


  • NurseChessie

    something tells me you forgot to mention resinol and peanut butter and god knows what else. Sounds like you guys had a great time. wish we could have all been together at the same time! waaa! and really, how can he be such a bastard, yet so fun?
    love ya

  • Gucci Mama

    Justine, I would KILL to spend a day with your family. You guys are HILARIOUS.

  • Life with Kaishon

    Oh my gosh. I love your Uncle. He looks like he is so much fun. I wish he could make me hate corn syrup and sugar...

    I am so glad you had a fun time. They look like very fun people for sure : )

  • Cole

    Hahahaha! You have an awesome family. I stopped mid-post and ran to the fridge to inspect my half & half. does have corn syrup in it!!!

  • AndreaLeigh

    great pictures! i've actually read that you shouldn't wash mushrooms b/c they soak up the water... who knows.

  • Stacy (the Random Cool Chick)

    Sounds like you had SO much fun with your aunt and uncle's visit! You got some incredible shots at the zoo - made me feel like I was right there! And I'm still laughing over your poor Uncle David's plight with the chair...and your captions. ;) Do you think Pooba will pack up and move before July? ;)

  • Sara's Sweet Surprise

    J, your family sounds a lot like mine...where you take up where you've left off.
    Those zoo pics were amazing, especially the one where the lioness was starring right into the camera lens. That was pretty incredible.
    It does surprise me that your aunt and uncle chose SLC to live, especially when the other option was Florida. Doesn't everybody want to live in the sunshine state?
    Did you notice the (big) orb in the night pic of your aunt (on the lanai)? There's actually more than one. Go back and check out the pic.

    Sweet wishes,

  • Michele

    LMAO...that cracks me up...Uncle David sounds to me like a riot and a fun guy to party with! That was a nasty look the lion gave!