Friday, October 20, 2017

Wine Thief?

Daddy Steve:  Here at Gregoropolis, we have a little wine room in the basement.  It's not as posh as it sounds (Daddy John: He's being too modest--Daddy Steve built it himself and it's amazing!); just a little room where we keep (and sometimes drink) our wine stash.

The other day I was doing laundry when I heard the pitter-patter of little Gregor feet.  I spied Giancarlo sneaking into the wine room.  Now, what could he be up to?

He seemed rather furtive about the whole thing.  Normally, the boys don't venture down to the basement.  Sasha insists Bigfoot lives down there, and while the others don't really believe him, they figure why chance it?

Staying out of sight, I could see Giancarlo peering around the corner and studying the wine racks intently.  This is a bit out of character for him--it's much more like something Mikko and Tyler would be up to.  

He then climbed on a step-stool and began examining the bottles.  He seemed to be looking for one in particular...the Chianti, perhaps?  What does Giancarlo even know about wine?

Hmmm...very curious, indeed.  To be continued!

Friday, October 13, 2017

Seizing The Day

Daddy Steve: The weather here in Gregoropolis has been overcast and rainy lately.  So, when we did get a clear and sunny day last weekend, Blake was determined to make the most of it.

Blake: Hey Robin, it finally cleared up.  Let's go outside and enjoy the fine autumn day.
Robin:  Great idea!  Let me just grab a jacket.  Hmm, on second thought, maybe I should change clothes, too.

Robin: And I should also check my email first.  Should I bring a book along...or maybe the radio?

Blake: Did you know that Jane Austen once said "Why not seize the pleasure at once?  How often is happiness destroyed by preparation, foolish preparation!"

Robin:'re right.  Come on, let's go!

Robin: This is nice.
Blake: Yes, it certainly is.

Friday, October 6, 2017

A Frog Story

Daddy Steve:  We have a new pet here at Gregoropolis, and it's not of the furry canine variety!  Before elaborating, I need to introduce a new boy.  He has actually been living here for a while now, but he has just not appeared in the blog.

Meet Charles; Tyler's twin brother.  Although they look similar, they are not strictly identical (because, of course, no two Sasha-Gregors ever are).  Charles has a narrower face and lighter hair.  I think he has a slightly perplexed expression.

Not-quite-identical twins, Tyler (left) and Charles (right)

Temperamentally, the brothers are not alike at all.  We've previously featured Tyler's wild exploits with his buddy, Mikko.  Charles, by contrast, is the sensible one; or as Tyler would say, the 'boring' one.  Charles wants to be an accountant when he grows up.

Charles:  The world needs accountants!  Who would figure out your taxes?
Tyler:  I'm a kid.  I don't pay taxes!

When Marti Murphy made Rolf's school boy outfit, we asked her to also make some cargo shorts with nice, deep pockets.  They turned out beautifully.  However, when Charles tried his new shorts on, he discovered a little extra something in one of the pockets!

Sasha: There's something wiggling in your pocket.
Charles: Huh?

Turns out that Marti's boys included a little amphibious surprise...

Charles: Hey, it's a frog!

Having a pet frog immediately conferred a degree of coolness on nerdy Charles.

Blake: Ooooh!
Mikko: Neat!
Giancarlo: Can I hold him?

Of course, the next thing was to create a suitable abode for the frog, or, as the boys have taken to calling it, a 'frogarrarium.'  

Patrick and Ravi are big advocates of the scientific method.  They were happy to help Charles do research on the ideal frog habitat.

Ravi: We have to figure out what species of frog he is.
Patrick:  That will determine the design of his habitat.

Eventually the boys created a nice little home for him.

Kaveh: He seems quite happy.
Charles: I think so, too.

And what did Charles name his new pet?  Hopalong, of course!

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Duel or Duet?

Daddy Steve: Our young rocker Bowie has been spending a lot of time lately practicing and writing music.

Bowie: Maybe I need to try a different chord.

As always, he looks to his beautiful muse, Rebel, for inspiration.

Bowie: Even though we're thousands of miles apart, our hearts are one.

Although the separation is difficult, Bowie believes that it actually improves his music.

Bowie: Every artist needs some angst and torment to produce great work.
Tyler, rolling his eyes:  Yeah, whatever, dude.

Of course Bowie is not the only musical member of the family.  Sebastian is quite a musician as well.  His style is much more folky, in the vein of John Denver.  We think he even looks a bit like a young John Denver; we just need to find him some wire-rimmed glasses!

Sebastian: Take me home, country roads...

Could the boys' vastly different styles lead to a musical showdown?  Beatland vs. Ballad Isle?

Fortunately, Bowie and Sebastian are the best of friends.

They have frequent jam sessions together.

Bowie: All right, mate.  Just no Donovan songs.
Sebastian: Deal.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

International Day of Peace

Today, September 21, has been declared International Day of Peace by the UN General Assembly.  It's a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace; both within and among all nations and peoples.   The boys of Gregoropolis invite you to join them in observing it.

This year's focus is on the acceptance, support, and non-discrimination of refugees and migrants.  As UN Secretary-General António Guterres observed:

In times of insecurity, communities that look different become convenient scapegoats.  We must resist cynical efforts to divide communities and portray neighbors as 'the other.'  Discrimination diminishes us all.  It prevents people-and societies-from achieving their full potential.  Together, let us stand up against bigotry and for human rights.  Together, let us build bridges.  Together, let us transform fear into hope.

In preparing for this post, we searched the internet for quotes on peace.  This is one of the more striking ones that we found:

We don't have to agree on anything to be kind to one another.   

I must admit that at first the sentiment struck us as a bit unambitious.  What about mutual respect and finding common ground?  However, the more we thought about it, the more we realized that every journey must begin with a first, tentative step.  If we can just all show each other the kindness and respect that we all deserve, then that's a tremendously big step.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Meeting Of The Minds

Daddy Steve:  It's difficult being a brainy kid, and sometimes a bit lonely.  Patrick's brothers are certainly fond of him, but often they just don't 'get' him.

Patrick: Frank, there's an episode of Cosmos on TV right now.  Do you want to watch it with me?
Frank: Cosmos...isn't that a candy bar?  Like Milky Way or Mars Bar?
Patrick:, it's a...oh, never mind.

Patrick: Hey guys, what are you up to?
Tyler: We're playing robot dinosaurs!
Patrick: I'm reading a book of poems by Emily Dickinson.  Would you like to hear one?

Mikko: We already know lots of poems!  >Ahem<

There once was a farmer from Leeds,
Who ate six packets of seeds.
It soon came to pass,
He was covered with grass,
And couldn't sit down for the weeds.

Mikko & Tyler: Hahahahahahahahaha!
Patrick: >sigh<

Ravi: Hello Patrick.  What's that you are reading?
Patrick: Oh, nothing.  Just a book about Frank Lloyd Wright.

Ravi: Ah, the famous architect.  Did you know that he was greatly influenced by Japanese art and design?
Patrick: Yes, I did!  How did you know that?
Ravi: Oh, I'm interested in a great many things.
Patrick: Would you like to look at this book with me?
Ravi: Absolutely.

Looks like the start of a great friendship!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Stephen At The Fair (Part 3)

Daddy John: Of course, one of the biggest draws of the Minnesota State Fair is the food!  Just about anything and everything you can imagine to eat.  On a stick.  Food on stick is a big thing at the Fair.  Why?  Sorry, you're not allowed to question the stick.

Stephen: Hmmmm.  Now, what are these again?
Daddy John: Deep-fried cheese curds.  They're my very favorite.

Stephen: I think I'll just have one of Daddy Steve's corn fritters.
Daddy John:  More for me, then!  Yum.

Thus nourished, we wandered around some more and stopped in at the Dairy Building.  This accomplished two goals:  First, to try one of this year's new foods: the Pie In The Sky Sundae.  Vanilla ice cream with a dark chocolate drizzle, mixed with lemon curd and "airplane" cookies.

And secondly, to check out the Princess Kay Butter Heads (yes, really).  We even got to see one being sculptured! Princess Kay of the Milky Way is a title awarded to the winner of the state-wide Minnesota Dairy Princess program; an annual competition sponsorted by the Midwest Dairy Association.  During her one-year term, Princess Kay serves as official good-will ambassador for the Minnesota dairy industry. Princess Kay is always a high-school student and she and her 'court' have their heads carved in blocks of butter at the Fair.   

It's been a busy visit to the Fair, and our feet are tired.  As we made our way towards the exit, we had to stop and do one last activity: Spin Art!

Stephen:  Daddy Steve, your design looks familiar!

Daddy Steve's painting after being spun, dried, and framed.

Daddy John:  What are you doing now, Stephen?
Stephen: I want to record all my thoughts about the Fair in my diary...

Stephen: ...and write a quick postcard to our friends in England 

Another year's Fair adventures for our diaries.  What will we see (and eat) next year?

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Stephen At The Fair (Part 2)

Daddy John:  Time for going on a few rides!  I didn't think Stephen Orange would like some of the more...energetic...rides (like The Scrambler, which Daddy John does enjoy), so we chose a couple of the more sedate ones.

First up is the Space Tower!  A large carousel slowly revolves and raises up about 300 feet; riders get a wonderful panoramic view of the fairgrounds and both downtown St. Paul and Minneapolis.

Stephen Orange: Wow!  We can really see a far way.  Can we see our house?
Daddy John: Sorry, bud, I don't think we'd be able to make it out from here.

After climbing out of the Space Tower, Stephen happened to look up.

Stephen: What are those?
Daddy John: Those gondolas are the Sky Ride.  It goes across the fairgrounds.
Stephen: Can we go on that one?
Daddy John: You bet.  Let's go!

Stephen: Hey, this was made in Switzerland!  I wonder if Sasha M ever rode in it?

Stephen: Everything looks so small from up here.

As our gondola approached the Giant Slide, Stephen watched it rather intently as we passed over.  He didn't say anything about it once we landed, so maybe next year?

Our last ride was Ye Old Mill, Daddy Steve's favorite.  It's the oldest ride at the Fair.

A large paddle wheel powers the small river that propels the riders' little wooden boat through the dark tunnels and past comical vignettes.

Of course, the original thrill of the Old Mill would have been meandering down the 'river' in the dark with your sweetie all alone.  These days, it's still a fun, quiet little ride.

Stephen: We're going into the tunnel now, Daddy John.  If you get scared of the dark, you can hold my hand.