Thursday, February 28, 2013


 -- via determined squishing and squeezing of the calendar, and then also by utter serendipity --

the day goes something like this:

Get A&A off to school, rush back home to meet with termite guy who confirms that garage is held together with hope and termite spit, rush back to Aliza's school to work in her classroom during Writer's Workshop (love),

search high and low at Aliza's school for the legendary-and-apparently-fictitious 'big roll of ginormous paper with which you can make a break-through banner for the upcoming school jog-a-thon,' find a sad, battered, blue-ish but big-ish scrap in the IEP office and decide it will have to do, drive the sad scrap over to the Middle School campus, hoist unwieldy scrap of sad paper onto shoulder and schlep across campus like a sight gag waiting to happen, pause to notice a truly lovely garden class project,

discover superior and far more ginormous rolls of paper in the Middle School office, overtly play favorites and recruit six enthusiastic 6th graders to paint the break-through banner for the jog-a-thon,

pick up Aliza from chorus, drive to Easternmost Hollywood -- promising a visit to the Gelato Shop -- drop off clothes at the Resale Shop, pick up goodies at the Favorite Shop, and then -- finding that it is really too too too late for gelato -- take children to their favorite dinner-on-the-way-home place.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Sometimes (Rarely) She Asks

I was sitting on the Kik Step, poking at my phone, and she slithered across the floor on her back, dust-mopping with her hair, and asked me to take her picture.

"Like this," she said as she posed.

While I played with photo filters in my phone, she talked -- with a not-insignificant amount of eye-rolling disdain -- about how kids at school had thought her shirt said "Barbie."

As if.

I kept trying to take pictures of her while she talked but she moved around and made her eyes go in different directions and was not going to NOT pose and so I stopped trying to take her picture.

But then when I downloaded the photos from my phone I found these, and I thought, yeah, that's my girl.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Of L.A. County Jail Jumpsuits, and Czech and German-Speaking Police Dogs (a Third Grade Field Trip)

The third graders are studying the court system, and will be putting the Big Bad Wolf on trial later this Spring (Aliza is a defense attorney).

Today Aliza and her classmates got to see a judge and lawyers in action while they sat in on the morning's (non-jury) preliminary hearings (lots of bail and fine discussions) at the Torrance Courthouse.  The kids were surprised -- and a bit spooked -- to see that the defendants were mostly young, handcuffed, and wearing color-coded L.A. County jail jumpsuits.  As talking was not permitted during the hearings, I attempted to translate the proceedings and type them into Notes in my iPhone, which the kids then passed around.

  • The man in the light green shirt with COUNTY JAIL on the back was out of jail, but he never showed up to check in with his probation officer, and so is going back to jail for a year.
  • The man in handcuffs and the blue jail jumpsuit has been arrested and put in jail until he has a trial.  He was accused of several things that they are not saying but one is that he may be in a gang.  His lawyer is asking if he can pay bail and go home until his trial in march.  He lives with his whole family...  He is going to be able to pay bail and go home to his family until march.

During a recess, the judge allowed the children to explore the whole courtroom, his chambers, and the jury room.  They also got to meet the bailiff and a lawyer who represents under-privileged defendants. 

Take-away lesson 1: 
Don't break the law, kids!

Afterwards we walked across the street to the police station where the K-9 officers and motorcycle police did a little demo.  The officers were incredibly patient with all the questions and loooong stories about each child's experiences with dogs.  

Take-away lesson 2: 
If a police car has a dog sticker on it, 
it is NOT an invitation to put your face against the window 
and say "Hi!" to the doggy  

Take-away lesson 3: 
Don't try to pet or talk to or distract a police dog when he is working

Take-away lesson 4: 
Torrance can afford police dogs bred in Europe
(their police dogs do not respond to commands in English)

Take-away lesson 5: 
Today should be the only time you ever ever ever 
get into the back of a police car

Monday, February 25, 2013

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Oscar Sunday, Before the Show

He purchased the small book and the big book
at the Last Bookstore.
Another amoeba invasion
He expelled a smaller throw blanket from under his massive fleece blanket, 


Portrait of a Young Artist with Honeydew and Tabletop Easel
Soaking in a morning sun puddle
Mixed messages (outside Aliza's door)
Checking off another Audrey Hepburn movie on Aliza's list At Poppy and Grandma's, after Cuban sandwiches and lunch-dessert 

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Behind the Scenes at the Natural History Museum

Did throwing in a members-only after-hours 'Centennial Celebration' with free dinner and free cotton candy and access to the staff and storage areas convince me to upgrade to a Fancy-Pants level of NHM membership?


Or perhaps I just wanted our family to help support this fine, fine institution.


Three-fourths of the family wished we had also come up with fabulous turn-of-the-last-century costumes like some of the other guests.  Ander especially was yearning for a top hat and tails.  And I may have experienced some semi-serious bustle and hat envy.

In one of those 'sometimes this city is quite small' moments, Ander ran into a good friend from school, and so a great chunk of our visit took on the feeling of a middle school 'we-don't-call-them-playdates-anymore,' with the adults lagging half a room behind the 6th graders (and their 3rd grade shadow).

But the best bit was getting to meet the Behind-the-Scenes Folk, some of whom (helloooo spider guy and fly gal) you got the feeling did not get out of the catacombs much, and who were just boiling over with information and quasi-religious enthusiasm.  We met three super-inspiring archaeology chicks: one was a student and docent, planning her graduate studies in ancient cultures; one was a young, ginger-haired and nose-pierced, in-the-field archaeologist who showed us some massive vertebrae from a dig she had been on, as well as an actual t-Rex claw that she had personally (squeee!) found; and another was an archaeologist who explained that "marine reptiles" are not dinosaurs, and showed us a ginormous flipper fossil. 

Second-best bit was the dinosaur puppeteers.  I couldn't get a good photo, but imagine something like this, but with a full-skin baby t-Rex and triceratops.  Sooooo amazing and Jurassic Park-like, especially when Ander stepped up to 'feed' one.

Why I Should Never Bother Making My Bed

From His Sketchbook: E-Mailed to Mr. M. (With Whom He is Writing an Epic Adventure Featuring These Very Characters)