Thursday, June 30, 2011

Ander & Zaza Brought Cake and Gifts (as Per Grandma & Poppy's Own Tradition*)

A princess cake from here.  Because marzipan 'icing' makes everything better.
Ander calls these guys 'Small Thoughts."  He's been drawing them for years, and Grandma loves them.  
(He used to say that the Small Thoughts ran the factory in his brain.)
Is there a word for a triptych + 1?
Aliza wanted to make Grandma lanyard earrings.  But we lacked the hardware and the time to track down the ear wires.  She decided Sculpey elephants would do just fine, as long as there was a baby -- because "Grandma loves elephants because they take such good care of their babies."  Yes, she had some help with the big one's body, but she marbleized the Sculpey herself, molded the head and tail, scratched toenails into the feet, stuck in the toothpick tusks,
 and made the baby all on her own.
She really, really wanted there to be a spray of water, and this is what I came up with 

(a detachable hot glue 'flower,' open at the center to slip over the trunk).
On the envelope containing Dubbadad's gift: a juggling elephant says,
"I don't know what's inside, but I know that it is good."
"Ooooohlala!"  "Happy Birthday!  Bye-bye!"
It was evident that Ander coveted Grandma's gift of Cirque du Soleil tickets...

*, for instance

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Ander's First Hickory Burger

Papa B scored an unprecedented (nay, MYTHICAL) six seats -- all together --
thus we didn't have to do the obligatory wait-along-the-wall.
She approached her plain cheeseburger (with ketchup) with trepidation.
He dug into his classic Hickory Burger (with cheese) without an iota of hesitation.
He spun his counter stool to face me, mumbling "ohmigosh"
and losing part of that first bite on the floor.
I was honestly worried that he would retrieve the fallen piece and eat it.
He didn't.  He was already taking another bite.  And another.
The epiphany:
"It's even better than Johnny Rockets!"
("Well, duh," I thought, and Papa B said aloud.)
"Apple Pan makes all other burger places seem PUNY!"
(Figuratively, I suppose, as the Pan is one U-shaped counter, with maybe 20 stools.)
That burger was gone in under two minutes.
There were also crispy fries, and drinks served in paper cones in little metal holders, 
and a traditionally unsmiling counterman (I swear, it's like the Buckingham Palace Guards).
There was also a slice of pecan pie a la mode, and a slice of banana cream pie,
and a slice of apple pie a la mode, and six forks.


At the kick-off party for the Beverly Hills Library Summer Reading Club, 
with the lovely Miss Shanaynay.

Yet another semi-serendipitous Juggling Storyopolis Alumnus encounter -- it was a real kick in the (giant, plaid) pants to cross paths with Philip (and company) once again. 

Friday, June 24, 2011

First Day of Summer Vacation 2011

Fridays -- even summertime Fridays -- are housecleaning days.  Thus, Ander spent the morning sorting through his 'guy bins,' deciding what to donate to charity.  This 'guy' did not make the cut, as he is a bit redundant (Ander already has a dragon warrior), and his tail tends to fall off. 
I remember this particular reptilian (amphibious?) warrior was the most random thing on Ander's Christmas list for Santa a couple of years back.
Aliza dusted and tidied her dollhouse, and sorted through her bigger dolls.  She only wants to hold onto one of her baby dolls.  This smaller one was her favorite when she was tiny, but didn't make the cut today.  (I thought if I took her picture I'd be okay with sending her away, but, but, but...)
Held together with spit, safety pins, and the iron will of Aliza (and happily tossed out today)
I never keep their oil pastel art.  Never.  Toooooo messssssy.  Photograph, and toss.  
A small sample of what they brought home on their Last Day (scan, file, toss, scan, photograph, file, toss, toss, toss...)
Between the centerpiece for Father's Day brunch and the leftovers from the bouquets I made yesterday, everything's coming up mums...
...and gerber daisies...
...and daisy-daisies...
...and peonies...
Ooooh, peonies...  
A man standing next to me in the flower section at Trader Joe's 
chose a bunch with buds as large and as tight as a child's fist.  
He mumbled, "leap of faith" as he walked towards the registers.
We took a break from organizing to drop off the outgrown toys at the Goodwill and to get balloons.  They (Ander mostly) have been begging for this trip to the party store for a month.  I sprung for the special interior coating that's supposed to stave off the eventual loss of helium.  They were both ridiculously happy.  The best $3 I've ever spent.
I put one of these in their Last Day lunches. They had never had one.  (I know, I know...)  
Today I offered them their second-ever.
Apparently, yesterday, somebody (curse you, Chicken Dude!) told Zaza that Ding Dongs contain beef fat.  She is concerned.  Ander, not so much.
I'm not sure what Ander said to convince her that cow or no cow, she was actually holding a tasty and quasi-magical puck of chocolatey goodness, delightfully enrobed in silver foil.
But it seems she gave in to the dark side, and enjoyed her second-ever Ding Dong.
(When one drops off two bags of toys at the Goodwill, one needs to fill the void with a charming book-themed garden ornament.)
Later there were bowlsfull of tiny scoops of ice-cold watermelon.
Balloon-play lasted about 10 minutes.  They refused my offer to watch "the Red Balloon."  Aliza's balloon popped shortly thereafter, and because she hadn't seen that film, she was able to shrug it off.

And somewhere in there we had cold drinks on the patio at Starbucks and strolled through Urban Outfitters and Ander started writing a story and Aliza watched a phonics DVD and I read two chapters of On the Banks of Plum Creek aloud and made omelettes and salads and salmon and they watched "the Illusionist" with Dubbadad (this one -- which they deemed "a bit sad" -- not the Edward Norton one, which Ander would probably have preferred).

There was whining, but the boredom was somehow luxurious -- there was jussssst sooooo muchhhhh tiiiiiime to do nothingggggggg.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Last Day of School 2011: Are You Ready for the Summer?

Serendipitously, two more car-loads of kids from our school showed up.  At one point one of Ander's classmates pointed out that I was the only adult at a table with nine kids.  I honestly hadn't noticed, because seriously, I was all about my root beer float.
These folks were making a film: she was wearing an elephant mask and walking the dog, and there was another guy who wore an owl mask, and then a Phantom mask and top hat.  The soundtrack was olde tyme circus music played on a boom box.
They kept very quiet and stayed out of the shot.  The scene ended with the elephant girl being locked in a cage, which made the kids a bit sad.
Just before this, we scared a coyote off the main lawn. 
Smart coyote.  These are some fierce second and fifth graders.

(the stage being built in the background is for an upcoming production of the Merry Wives of Windsor)

Soooo one family -- wearing Aloha shirts and sunglasses -- rolled into the after-school pickup line in a bright red (rented) convertible, decorated with streamers and summer-themed signs.

Another mom filled her car with gorgeous primary-colored star-shaped balloons and had Alice Cooper's "School's Out" all cued up.

I smooooshed Ander, Zaza, the Chicken Dude and his little sister Miss P into my dusty, camping-gear-crammed car, where I could notnotnot trick Pandora into playing this song, and drove them to our grotty local branch of Foster's Freeze, where I fed them enough ice cream to make Miss P very, very sick (twice! necessitating a Foster's parking lot rescue by her mom), and then plowed on to the Old Zoo, where we hiked around the Cage Trail (with me in Dr. Scholl's. Yeah. I know.) until we were somehow both muddy and dusty and the mosquitoes were eating me alive.

It was kind of perfect.

And it felt like summer.