Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Visiting Santa at the Grove

Chilly and wet, early-on-a-weekday: perfectly timed...

Scarf by Alissa.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Do Elves Make Decent Bookshelves?

stuff (polite word choice) has forced a house-wide re-org.

never got out of jammies today. not in a cozy, sitting around in jam-jams with cocoa sort of a way, but in a never stopped moving stuff around and never managed to get dressed sort of way.

broke THREE bookshelves reshuffling kids' books. what evillll Ikea creature builds hollow-core shelves anyway? they're obviously designed to hold a handful of paperbacks, and not 16 cubic feet of children's hardcovers.

and no, i DON'T have too many books.

there's no such thing.

why yes there ARE books in the dining room, bathroom, and hallway, and yes, i understand that most people don't think of those as book-storing sorts of rooms.

i can stop anytime. really.

p.s.: asked santa for a 'flea' uke. don't think i'm going to get it. also asked for old jawline and new stomach muscles, but then got tired of writing letter to santa and ate a Hershey bar left over from last night's foray into fireside s'mores-making, so I'm guessing abs o' steel are not going to be found under the tree this year either.

Friday, December 05, 2008

At Hollywood & Highland: Photoboothing, Ice Cream, and Some Poorly-Timed Water-Play (with jek Along for the Ride)

Jessica* and I were craving some photobooth fun, and so we picked up the cheeky monkeys and headed over to Hollywood and Highland, mecca of bad architecture and tourist trappiness (but also home to the Lucky Strike bowling alley with its magical magical black and white booth).

We figured we could find ice cream in one of the tacky food court chain places, and we did (Dreyers set us up quite nicely).

But we hadn't planned on the water-jet walk-through fountain still being active in freaking December, and I'm afraid I deeeeeply underestimated its magnetic attraction for Ander. And of course Zaza must try anything Ander seems to be enjoying.

Despite the fact that the sun was over the hills and it was getting chilly.

Despite the fact that I informed them I had no dry clothes in the car.

I left the choice up to them, because really, I'd be running through the thing if I wasn't holding my fancy-pants camera, and running through a fountain in December is just the sort of serendipitous adventure that I LOVELOVELOVE, and what was the worst that could happen? I have a heater in my car. There were dry clothes and hot baths at home. Nobody was going to die of pneumonia.

Miss Kitty stuck to the sidelines, illustrating that she has both a will of steel when it comes to madly giggling peer pressure, and a clear understanding of the discomforts of cold wet tights.

Za had a shriekingly good time, but then was doubly miserable afterwards because she had nobody to blame but herself when she was cold and uncomfortable -- it's not like anybody made her put her entire head into geyser after geyser after geyser...


It was so very worth it.

* She took that last photo. I didn't have photo-worthy lipstick, hence, the turtleneck-mask. Also, that's one of her husband's stripety Spzmls in the photo with the ice cream. This particular fellow was Ander's payment for taking care of jeks' cat (Witch Baby) whilst jek & her husband were roadtripping.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Ice Cream Friday: Mashti Malone's

One of my favorite Los Angeles signs, this.

What? What's that you say? Why are there four cups of ice cream in the photo above, when there are only three children* in this carpool? Well, I have to make certain that these chilly confections are worthy of my wee charges' delicate pallettes. Of course I do.

(That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.)

Oh and Ander's short sleeves and that blue, blue sky? Eating ICE cream, outdoors, a week before Thanksgiving? Yeah, that's Cal-i-for-nye-ay, bay-beeee. Love to all our friends back East and farther North and even farther East heeheeeheee neeneer neeneer!!!

Truthfully, I am SOOOOOOOOOOOO over this 'weather.' Bring on the sweaters and layers and boots already, sheesh.

*Zaza and Miss Kitty really were along for the ride and the ice cream, I promise. They were just a bit camera-shy.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Our Car Pool Rocks: Ice Cream Fridays

It really does, if I do say so myself, and I do.

We are trying out different ice cream, yogurt, and gelato places around town every Friday. Repeat visits are permitted, as there are after-school moods and weather and traffic to take into consideration (the close-to-home Baskin & Robbins is a safe fall-back, as is cocoa -- with lots of whipped cream -- at Starbucks).

But really, what better way to map this city than by its frozen dessert dispensaries?

Saturday, November 08, 2008

At Jane's and Alex's and Deb's Art Show in Glendale

Waiting for Ander at Barnsdall

He takes Recycled Art and Animal Sculpture back-to-back every Saturday.

If it's too hot or too wet (as it has been quite a bit over the course of this wonky Autumn), I wander through the racks of the nearby Goodwill.

But if the weather is juuuuust right (which is to say, "cardy-wearing weather"), I find a comfy spot in the patio garden outside the art studio, pour a cup of ZaMeAndad-brewed coffee from my Thermos, and read big trashy vampire books written for teenagers.

Friday, November 07, 2008

2008 Fall School Portraits

So yeah, that's pretty traditional -- the pose and all -- and I always insist on the generic background and a Hawaiian shirt so that someday they'll look nifty all lined up together. And thankfully the black marker mustache he drew right on his face the night before washed off enough not to be visible.

But then there's this one:


The head of Zaza's Montessori school - Queen E. -- is quite a character. (A character that drove me fuming and seething from my first interview at the western branch of the school, back when I was looking for a preschool for Ander. When I heard she had a less-direct role in the eastern location, I was delighted to sign up Zaza. )

Every Autumn, she and a pet mother/photographer come up with an overly arty 'vision' for the school calendar and/or the school yearbook. Last year there was a whole Magritte thing, with the kids wearing black and grey costumes and clutching random red objects with which they had no personal attachment. They all ended up looking wan and confused.

This year it was a copyright-busting tribute to Dr. Seuss. After arriving at the photographer's home, every child from age 2 to 6 was shoe-horned into shiny black size 2 unitards. They were then accessorized by Queen E with various left-over costume bits from past school plays. Although we arrived before her, a classmate of Za's who has loooong luxurious hair was handed piles of rainbow-ribboned hair elastics (and rainbow toe socks). Za's eyes lit up. And then we were handed her get-up: a puffball-covered t-shirt and a metallic hood with a yarn-y mane.

I struggled. I was already annoyed about the unitard -- Zaza is a tall size 6, and the unitard was leaving deep lines in her shoulders and riding up in all sorts of uncomfortable-looking ways. But after asking Queen E if Za really had to wear it, and receiving a withering "of course," I had wimped out. Now Zaza was staring into my eyes, and so obviously on the fence about this whole costume thing. Was I just intimidated by Queen E? Was I choosing her approval over my child's happiness? I took some deep breaths and thought about what would happen if I stripped Za and left: I would be taking a stand against a woman who I personally don't care for, but whom my daughter adores; I would be removing Za from what amounts to a group project (and from the calendar itself). What would that really teach her?

So I gave Za a big hug, smiled hugely and gushed about all the pretty colors in her costume. Then I surreptitiously yanked a handful of pink and purple yarn out of the mane and stuffed it in my pocket. Once Za was dressed, I pulled a face-framing bunch of her curls free of the hood and let her put on some sparkly Chapstick.

And she was thrilled to stand on that white drop and be fussed over by Queen E and the photographer. Thrilled. She skipped all the way back to the car, talking about how much she loooooves photo shoots (oh dear)...

Also -- petty, petty me -- I got to annoy the pants off of Queen E by taking behind-the-scenes photos. She hissed at me that my flash would throw off the photographer's lighting -- and then I (a tad too gleefully) pointed out that I was working entirely without a flash. She thin-lipped me severely but couldn't really say anything while I continued to shoot pictures of her, the photographer, and the other moms and kids.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

So Very Hope-y

Just before bath-time, before ZaMeAndad got home, the power went out.

Ander and Zaza and I had been clustered around the computer, bickering a bit about whether it is technically interrupting if you talk to somebody whilst they are trying to compose an e-mail, and then WHOOOMP the world went dark.

I snapped at 'Za, assuming -- as she was crawling around behind my chair and under my chair and under the desk and around the CPU -- that she had kicked a plug and somehow blown a fuse. But of course it was not her fault, and the whole city block was dark, so I left them giggling and listening to the wind, and went in search of the Big Flashlight.

Truth be told, I do love a good power outage, and I was relieved to not be pummelled with election coverage.

I attempted to keep excitement high and spookiness at bay, lighting an odd assortment of candles in every room (mint green floating candles shoved into votives, sparkly metallic orange Halloween tapers, thick white jasmine-scented pillars), and -- while they bathed -- prattling about the Amish, and theories concerning the potential health risks of artificially extended daylight, and how some dear friends had once tried to wake and sleep along with the rising and setting of the sun.

ZaMeAndad came home and read Zaza her bedtime stories by flashlight.

And so it was that I was reading Ander his bedtime story, tilting the glossy pages jussssst soooooo so we could both see the pictures in the flickering candlelight, when ZaMeAndad walked in and handed me his Blackberry. Ander and I whoooooped and then -- really -- truly -- THE LIGHTS CAME BACK ON.

Later, wrapped up in a blanket with a book in my lap, listening to the wind rattle the windows, I wondered if maybe we can shut off the lights and the TV and the computer once a month, if we can just read and draw and cuddle and keep within a candle's glow of one another through the dark windy night, if we can wake with the rising sun.

(Yes we can!)

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Sunday Afternoon: 'A Study in Age-Specific Attention Spans' OR 'Ander's Strong Gravitational Pull'

We found this inspiring, approachable, well-written book at the library yesterday, and now Ander is very, very busy working on a comic strip called "The Circus of Rock."

Zaza (eventually) began work on her own comic called "Swirl Hibiscus, " featuring Monsterlina, Swirlicup, and Robot Badguy...

Saturday, November 01, 2008

It Finally Feels Like Autumn

A rainy day at last.

With actual thunder and lightning.

Cold enough to wear fuzzy socks and sweaters.

Cozy enough to read on the sofa, legs intertwined, reading the 'good bits' out loud to each other...

How long have I waited to be able to read together-apart with him? (My whole life maybe?)

Mmmmmm... We need cocoa.