I think this was the best weekend we had out here.
On Thursday, I emailed the rest of Lucy's class to let them know that we'd be at Brand Park after school. This was the first time I'd tried to arrange anything out here. A few of us had met after school on a informal basis, but I figured I'd invite the group.
Lucy wore her new birthday outfit from Tar-jay, hair ribbon from American Girl, and shiny new Adidas from Costco.
We ended up with seven pairs of moms and kids, and it was really, really lovely. We passed nearly two-and-a-half hours at the park, and it went by like ten minutes. I parented other people's kids, watched them parent mine, had grown-up conversations, and started to feel like I might actually have a new group of real friends. Plus Arlo got to play with Frieda the dog, who is a poor substitute for Purl Redwine, but an awesome, patient and cuddly friend.
On Saturday, I dragged Oscar to the Farmer's Market as usual. The egg line was so long -- like easily 50 people -- that I gave up and bought eggs at Trader Joe's later. I couldn't make Oscar wait in the egg line since he was hanging out with his buddy Sage, whose folks have the cut herbs and salad booth. They have a spicy mesculn salad mix mix is to die for. A little more arugula and frisee and spicy herbs than most mixes, and $2/ 1/4 lb. The boys are the same age but Sage lives out in the country (obviously, since they run a farm!) so Oscar looks forward to hanging out with him every Saturday. Sage is like the 8-year-old king of the farmer's market. He has free run of the place and seems to subside off of free samples. His folks make a huge sandwich every Saturday with bread from the baker, cheese from one of the fromage guys, maybe some marinated artichokes from the Greeks, plus their salad and herbs. They nosh off it all day and it looks divine. Maybe if I encourage Oscar to be besties with Sage they will let me have a hunk someday.
Oscar and I met Evan, Arlo and The Goose at the Burbank YMCA for a tour. We really miss Lifetime Fitness in NJ, but they haven't gotten to the West Coast yet. We're in the process of getting the boys evaluated for gross motor stuff, and it seems like they are on the slightly lower range of normal, but could use a bout of non-competitive sports. So we are thinking of slashing our already spare household budget even further and signing up for the Y, and getting the kids into swim lessons and gymnastics (they have a boy-specific gymnastic class). Oscar takes Yoga through the local Parks and Rec but we could do it cheaper and more consistently at the Y. The problem is this: they have a small lap pool and and an even smaller training pool, which goes from 3.5 to 5 feet (not good for the Goose) and the 1 1/2 hours of free swim per week before 7:30 pm (!!!) is not very kid friendly.
We had lunch at Sharky's Wood-Fired Grill (our family weekly lunch out will be the thing to go for the gym membership, even when we have those newspaper coupons), and it was every bit as good as folks had told us. They have a kid's meal that is heaven for our boys: a bowl of half Spanish rice, half black beans, topped by grilled chicken, steak or salmon, plus a drink and churro, all for 3.99. The five of us ate and brought home leftovers for less than $30, using Evan's WB discount.
Evan and The Goose took off to Amoeba Records to buy a present for Auntie JoJo. I took the boys back to the Y for the free swim. We had a lot of fun, but BOY am I spoiled by Lifetime. We spent the entire 1 1/2 hours in the pool but there were plenty of people doing exercises and stretches that weren't thrilled to be confronted by a couple of high spirited kids in the pool. It's definitely a cultural thing out here. Pools in the Northeast seemed to be more a family thing. Out here, even the town pools (who are closed now) start out at 3.5 feet and you have to pay every time you go ($2, but that's $8 every day during the summer for us). A lot of people have their own pools, so there doesn't seem to be the "town pool" culture that we loved in NJ. This summer should be interesting -- and by interesting I mean that I will be crabbing non-stop on this blog.
We got home, made some dinner for the kids and shoved them into their PJs, and left them in the care of our lovely babysitter, Miss Sunshine. (Really.) Evan and I dolled up and took off to a cozy restaurant to celebrate Auntie JoJo's 36th birthday. We had a really wonderful time and met lots of wonderful and charming people that we both want to see again. Evan chatted with a guy who directed some of those awesomely awful monster movies on SciFi, and I bonded with a charming lass that shared my move of YA books and wanted to know all the gossip about Matt Wagner. (Her friend is adapting one of his books. I have nothing bad to say about Matt -- he is a gentleman and one of my heroes, and I am so happy I got to work with him.)
|My handsome date.|
|I had to crop INCHES of cleavage out of this photo. Apparently Evan is not the Modesty Monitor I had hoped. I apologize for flashing everyone at the table, the restaurant, and Silver Lake.|
Auntie Jojo. Ain't she swell? Thanks to her Young Man, Dan for these photos.
I met my friend Janice in the glamorous Newark Airport, while we were waiting for our flight to San Diego Comicon 2007. She was living with my old friend Mike, and lucky for me, they got married and moved to Burbank six months before we did. Janice is a great friend, a great mom (to both my kids' 14yo babysitter and to a kid at SUNY Purchase, my alma mater) and the best person you'd want to have to introduce you to your new home. She is also a real Jersey Girl.
Janice organized a brunch of her girlfriends in LA that were Jersey Girls -- Janice, me, Susan, who went to high school with Janice and another Susan, who owns comic shops here in LA, has family in White Plains, and is chock full of advice about living here in LA.
So here's me: generally crabby about my life, and Janice takes me out to brunch with Susan who went to my beloved and missed preschool, and whose sister was Arlo's beloved teacher, at the same preschool, and who has lived here in LA very happily and raised two kids through the public school system. The kids are now in really impressive colleges in the CA University system and doing well. The other Susan is one of the most effervescent human beings I've ever met. She co-owns a couple comic book shops, writes screenplays, throws parties, and has lovely anecdotes about directors, screenwriters, and Hollywood folk.
Is there any question why I love Janice? Boy, I am really grateful for her.
So I had my lovely Jersey Girls brunch where we said things like "down the shore" and talked about our favorite beaches. I came home to a restless bunch, so we went to the beach (not down the shore). I got lots of advice from local friends and my new Jersey friends, but we made it easy and went back to Santa Monica.
We had to park far away from the pier, so we were in a different part of the beach. That pretty Rubenesque lady in the photo is not me, if you are wondering.
The Goose has a gorgeous haircut. She is the only one of the girls at preschool that has short hair. ( out of 40 kids, 20 girls, in two classes). Is this a West Coast/ East Coast Thing? Who knows.
But the problem with her haircut is that I can't get a good picture of it. I have lots of pictures of her hair covering her face.
Thanks to Gretta for the new bathing suits!
I wrote about this on Facebook, but they are gesturing towards a blimp.
Can you believe how gorgeous she is?
And she is a bad ass little miss. Don't mess with my Goose.
I wasn't able to get a picture of it, but there was a huge pod of dolphins that were right behind that surfer in the photo. I picked up each one of my kids, pointed out the dolphins, and we marveled. I called my mom, who is nursing her sisters and her dad, in cold, depressing Rochester, NY and said, Mom, it's January and I'm on the beach, my kids are playing in the surf, and a pod of dolphins just went by.
Godzila goes in the drink.
Are they not the best human beings that ever existed?
Flat Stanley buried in the beach. Flat Stanley was sent to Oscar by his friend Nicky in New Jersey, and we are trying to show him a good time.
Flat Stanley on the lifeguard structure.
A perfectly California view. This kind of view is why my world is rocked every day.
Oscar and Flat Stanley buried in the sand.
Surfers. Will one of my kids be in their number in the future?
Profile of a Youngish Man on the Beach.
Flat Stanley next to the Santa Monica Pier.
Your humble narrator and photographer.
Back to the Valley. Home Sweet Home.