Thursday, May 31, 2012

Horses, toads and a pirate's lair

Memorial day weekend was very, very busy. And long. We added Friday too.

After dropping my poor middle child off at the school busstop in a light, rainy mist Friday morning, the rest of the family headed north to Disneyland.

There was dancing to be done, and rides to ride, and parties to go to.

We were denied early check-in (the bastids), so headed to Downtown Disney for some lunch before my oldest daughter's first dance competition. We decided on the Rainforest Cafe. You know, the one with howling monkeys and braying elephants? And a thunderstorm every half hour or so?

It was almost scary.

But we survived.

Then we split up. My big girl and I went to go get her dolled up, and happened to run into this goofball.

He was a lot of fun.

Chicken noodle soup, the hip hop dance of the day (I kid you not), went okay, although my girl came off stage crying, saying she messed up the entire second part of the dance. I for one, couldn't tell, but felt bad for her nonetheless. During the awards ceremony they walked away with a gold and were second out of three for their category, so not too shabby, but still lack luster enough to require a team swim.

After a few hours of swimming, sliding, and some quick take out food, it was time to celebrate a 13th birthday. These might be the cutest birthday cookies I have ever seen.

And some of the cutest mouse-eared party-goers as well.

We didn't stay late, as we were determined to open up Disneyland park in the morning.

We may not have been the very first peeps there, but it was pretty early and therefore were easily able to ride trains,


and little toady cars.

The girls with none other than J. Thaddeus Toad, Esq
We also went to an area of the park I've never been to before. Pirate's Lair on Tom Sawyer Island. I was shocked to find "twisting wilderness paths, tree house lookouts and dark caverns filled with cursed treasure."

And they weren't kidding about the cursed treasure. It scared the bejesus out of my little one. She is still talking about the bony arm holding an eyeball and the monster that popped out of the treasure.

The skull dome and pontoon bridge were a little frighting too.

But we all made it back across to the mainland without major injury. And after a much more successful second dance performance, where the girls picked up a first place platinum, and fourth overall ranking, we headed south to San Diego to commence the softball portion of the weekend.

But more about that later...

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Summertime? Oh, It's Here.

So here we were a few weeks ago:

Okay, so maybe it was just, like, last weekend.

But it felt like ages ago, because it was before Memorial Day.

If I were Mistah Schleckah I'd call this: 
My Tootsie-Toes, My Pint Glass, and Thee.

When Memorial Day weekend arrived we embraced it with open arms, and open brallys.

We were sitting on our deck in the brilliant sunshine one morning during the holiday weekend, and we could hear Ledgie, contradictingly singing her mournful song of foggy woe, and we biked right down the hill to investigate.

Sure enough, the fog was thick as pea soup down there.

Ledgie was socked right in.

So were the ferries . . .

. . . until they blew right out of that fog, and to ferry landings near City Pier in New London, right where they belong.

Meanwhile, back at the, well, it's not a ranch, but, well, shoot, the Appraisal Vision Assessor's Database calls it "Conventional". Please. We are anything but conventional around here. Just wait until I show you the Home Improvement progress we've made . . .

. . . but that's for another day.

For this day, for Memorial Day, it was all about London Broil, and my own Mistah Schleckah's cooking thereof.

Steak was my Dad's job. And Mark Dowd's. And Mr. Can-O-Beans. We're more chicken grillers around here.

But may I tell you this?

Mistah nailed it.

Oh how I love this time of year.

Happy Summer, peeps.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Friday, May 25, 2012

Party, Party, Party

What does one do the day after hanging out with 2000 of your closest friends at a Gala, you ask? Well, if you're us, you go to three local parties, on your bicycles, and live to tell the tale.

We don't have any photos of the first party, although it was such fun. We were both still shell-shocked, I think, from the bizarro world that is Life in a Casino.

We had arrived at the Mohegan Sun, after all, at 5 on Saturday afternoon, and parked -- on purpose -- on the roof level of the parking garage. When we finally left at 10 on Sunday morning -- trousers and jackets and ties and dresses firmly packed inside our bags -- it had been 17 hours since we tasted the tiniest tidbit of real air. We burst through that door onto the roof of the garage and breathed oxygen into the very depths of our souls.

We rode home with every door and every sunroof open, our heads out the windows, gasping for breath.

So it took a while for the fresh air to hit our brains, and to start to take photos. Well, it took fresh air, and a couple of beers.

The second party was a Connecticut College graduation party, at our neighbors' house, and when we rode up on our bikes, this is what we saw:

I know! A grilled cheese truck! In the driveway!

Jelly Roll Alert

A grilled cheese truck in the driveway is like dying and going to heaven.

The party was filled with delightful peeps . . .

. . . especially this delightful peep . . .

. . . and we had a wonderful time.


But we couldn't stay. No! We had places to go! More places to go.

And so we were off. Downtown New London is a ghost town on a Sunday afternoon in May, apparently.

Mistah did a great job taking photos whilst on his bike though . . .

. . . well, until the pretty girl got out of her car, then everything became slightly fuzzy.

Speaking of fuzzy . . .

Congrats! To our very own UConn Law School Grad! What a fabulous accomplishment, Victoria!

When I told someone about the, ahem, private party at the Tavern he asked, "So Peter had to turn away all the local drunks?" I answered, "Well, not all of them . . ."

And then, well, we caught the end of the daylight and headed home.

Mistah is ahead of me, and yet the photo is of me. And Mistah's left shoulder. Which means he held the camera over his left shoulder and took the shot. Which is awesome.

I am telling you people. The anecdote antidote to a night in a godforsaken, befuddling casino is a day out on the bikes, party-hopping, champagne-filled-backpack in place. It was a spectacular kick-off to the summer . . .

Where next?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

LaLa Girl

The left side of my neck is fully jacked up. My shoulder is also in a state of dismay, and all of the muscles in my upper arm (mah guns) are sore. I suppose that is to be expected after helping somebody move.  And what a move it was... our lovely Chapel Hill Carrboro LaLa girl has been transplanted!

You can imagine the amount of stuff that a young woman on the brink of greatness would bring along on a cross country relocation.  She had two whole duffel bags! And a messenger bag. And, I think, a wallet.

It was hard!

I took the day off and drove up to LAX to meet my scrumptious niece, who had done gone and bought herself a one way ticket to LaLa land. She's got a job and an apartment and more potential in her wee tiny pinkie tootsie than any of us mere mortals have in our whole selves, including our imaginations. But at least we have beds. 
Oh. Nevermind.

But wait, let me back up. I got to the airport stupidly early, not knowing if I'd hit traffic or lose a tire or something. Colleen's flight was delayed so I got to hang out for a while and watch the freakshow. I was so wrapped up in one couple's riveting saga that I almost didn't even see our girl descending on  the escalator! So I didn't catch the arrival photo. I didn't catch most of the obligatory photos, and once again I did not have a Schlekah at my disposal. Not even one. But I had my girl with her pink mountain lungs, and I felt terrible about bringing her outside into the gray heavy air of Los Angeles.

Because the universe is a magical fairy land, it just so happened that Julie and Colleen had an acquaintance in Asheville who wanted to rid himself of a bed in a house just a few blocks from Colleen's new apartment. That's the house in the photo above, the one with the narrow staircase, see? We considered flinging the mattress like a frisbee from the top of the stairs to the hilly street below where my car was parked, but then Colleen had the brilliant idea to just slide the mofo down the railing. The flinging would have been more flamboyant and fun, but this was okay too. I thought it was important to capture that moment up there. Look how much fun! As soon as we got to the bottom, a friendly neighbor popped over to hoist the mattress up onto my roof for us, and then he scurried off, leaving us to secure the thing with some pretty orange rope I'd bought just that morning.

We didn't know what we were doing per se, there was no method to our fastening. We just threw the rope thing back and forth to each other, alternating over and under the roof rack, at one point we opted to go through the back windows, we enlisted the mattresses grab handles and tied complicated knots and we kept it up until the mattress was snug as a bug. Then we crossed our fingers and climbed in and got ready to head down the hill.   

We opened the sun roof because... well, because we could. And I thought it was very important to keep a close eye on the mattress to make sure it wasn't moving.

I got a little nervous when we started to drive. I could clearly see a scene unfold in my mind's eye: the mattress would fly off of the car and land on the street or the windshield of the car behind me, causing me to be horrified beyond belief and/or murdered in cold blood by a raging roadster. At the very least I would probably cause a traffic problem in LA at 5pm on a Tuesday, and I would definitely get shot.

It was going fairly well, though. We didn't have to get on the freeway in between addresses, and the first few turns were quiet residential streets where I could go very slowly and we could all focus on my shrieking accusations that IT IS MOVING! And Colleen's quiet reassurances that it was not.  We each had an arm out of our window to keep tabs on the mattress, in my case keeping tabs meant maintaining a death grip that caused all of the muscles on the left side of my arm and torso to seize and revolt, thus rendering mah guns and neck so shamefully flummoxed the next day.   

Then we had to go on a bit of a bigger, more populated avenue to reach our destination. We were expected to drive a little faster, but we could feel the front of the mattress lifting upward against the force of the oncoming wind, and that lifting was almost enough to send me straight into hysterics.  

Almost, but not quite.

There came a certain point when I got tired of holding on to the mattress out my window. It was uncomfortable and annoying and it wasn't doing anything to prevent or delay the inevitable carnage, so I just let go. Colleen was impressed with my ability to so suddenly completely change my disposition on the matter, but I am nothing if not a woman of surprising strength and calm in the face of probable crashing and murder.

And guess what? We made it.

What were you so worried about, Colleen?
As we untied the complicated knots to release the mattress from its bondage, a man walked up the street pulling his two grandchildren in a little red radio flyer wagon. He pointed at me and said "watch the kids" then asked Colleen where the mattress was going and promptly popped it up on top of his head and carried it right up the stairs into her second story apartment and into her empty new bedroom. I kept busy winding the rope back onto its cage thingie while one of the kids fell out of the wagon.

And then we unloaded the few silly things I had managed to bring along from my house that I thought might help a girl on the move feel more settled in to a big, strange new city. It's the little things, after all: sheets and peanut butter and a lamp made by her Jidoo.

Swoon, goes my heart.

It was really hot out. I brought her the hot comforter hoping that she's a cold sleeper. I did think the cooler comforter would be better, but I felt bad after taking it directly off of my sleeping son to put in my car, so I gave it back to him.
Then we decided to go out for a bite before I had to hit the road back south. We laid on the floor in her empty apartment and yelped nearby mexican restaurants, finding the exactly perfect place and then driving around in concentric circles (me) instead of looking at the directions (her) to get there. 

Here Colleen is telling me about her very interesting work and hopes and dreams while I take note that her nose hoop matches the purple of the mural's bougainvillea perfectly
It was a big day, a day full of adventure and life changing risk taking and possibilities.

I bet it was exciting for Colleen, too.
Welcome to the left coast, LaLa Girl! Never forget that I can be there in less time than it takes to watch a feature length film.

I'm not sure about a documentary.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Coastal cruising

It's been a less gray May than many years' past, which is so very nice for us San Diegans. Not wanting to waste the bounty, we decided to take a little cruise up the coast on Sunday.

There is so much to see. And I don't take nearly enough photos. But here are two stops that one must not miss if coastal cruising in San Diego.

Exhibit A, the Children’s Pool  (or Casa Beach) -- a tiny cove protected by a concrete breakwater. It was once a swimming beach for the kiddos, that is until the seals and sea lions moved in. Now swimming is discouraged, although not forbidden. And you are repeatedly warned with myriad signs and by a ranger to be quiet so as not to disturb the easily scared seals and their pups. It's a really cool spot to see a colony of seals in their natural environment. But it is not without its controversy. Oh no. This beach is a battle ground for organizations that want more protections for seals on the one side and those determined to make sure people aren’t squeezed out of this historic swimming beach on the other. I say let the seals have the tiny beach. But what do I know.

Well I know that seals like to rest.

Actually I recently learned that they need to rest from 10 -14 hours(!) a day to replenish their oxygen supply and dry out from their deep dives.


A gal's gotta drink, too.

Moving on to Exhibit B, the Torry Pines Gliderport. This spot is so great! It's located on a cliff overlooking the mighty Pacific, right across, and well actually also right next to, UCSD. And the Torry Pines golf course. The coastal views from this spot are spectacular, and the deli serves up some tasty morsels as well.

It's such a perfect place to grab a sandwich and be completely entertained.


Coming in for a landing. Look at that cool contraption!

Ohh, pretty again, and so SD Chargers'-ish

Look both ways...

Then get going

And you're off!


Sadly the very time we stopped by was the start of the memorial service for Pam Hargett, a glider pilot who died on those very cliffs on May 12th. So again, please remember that I suggested that you go watch the gliders, not necessarily become one. Unless you want to.