Saturday, June 26, 2010

6/26/2010 The Neighborhood

Today I had an errand that took me to a most unexpected place. I came across this pleasant charming tree-lined downtown, with outdoor seating and shops and restaurants.

And then a wonderful farmer's market, as most are around here. I didn't have a lot of cash with me, but I had just enough to buy a cheesecake sampler from an enterprising entrepreneur. Still, I regretted not being prepared, because there were tons of beautiful fruits and pastries and flower and fresh herbs.

What a lovely place! Too bad we don't live here. Even though on paper, we do.

This was downtown Sunnyvale, a tiny microcosm within a city that is otherwise dull mid-century suburban sprawl. One block of the original early-1900s grid wasn't razed for a mall in the mid-1970s, and now this serves as its bustling little mini-downtown.

But our house is on the complete opposite side of Sunnyvale, and we're really much more connected to Cupertino. Most of our resources (schools, shopping, library, haircutting and such day-to-day mundanities) are in Cupertino. And Cupertino has no downtown whatsoever to speak of. It's ironic that my major complaint about our house -- that through a quirk of history happens to be within Sunnyvale legal borders -- is the Cupertino-ish not-so-neighborhood.

One thing I can't complain about where we live is being less than 5 minutes from an ice rink. Gabriel isn't crazy about his figure-skating lessons, and neither am I since he doesn't learn nearly as much as he could in the time given, but I am glad it's so close. We're almost done with this series of lessons, then I'll put him back in hockey lessons. It's quite clear that he's already much more of a hockey skater than figure skater.

In theory this afternoon, I was preparing for our trip back East next week so I don't go running around like crazy at the last minute. In practice, I always work better under pressure, no preparations happened at all, and will still end up running around like crazy at the last minute. In my defense, I have been feeling horrible the last few days (contributing to my absence at coffee night with my friends, and absence from this blog), and just don't feel like doing much.

I spent some time in the office this afternoon, and enjoyed looking out the window to see Julian industriously watering all the plants. Never mind that complete drip system we just had installed. I wasn't about to deter him.

Then we turned on my "bubble rock" -- a complete indulgence that I'm still on the fence about, and he played with it a little. I had told our landscaper: "NO WATER FEATURES!" but he knew better and planned for one anyway. And so there is my rock that water flows out of. It goes completely against my function-over-form nature....and I love it.

Katrina threw such a nasty tantrum this morning that Dave bailed on taking Julian and Katrina out to breakfast as is customary on Saturday mornings (I was at skating with Gabriel). After Gabriel's lesson, Katrina was just then putting her clothes back on after stripping them off in her fit that lasted over an hour. It's exhausting and annoying and frustrating. Dave was in a blue mood all day after that.

This is one of her worst tantrum phases ever. We can count on at least one, usually more, major major inconsolable impossible tantrums that lasts well into an hour per day. I know it will end someday, but WHEN?!

But she doesn't tantrum all day. Later she was adorable when she burst downstairs and announced that she'd made a present for Dad -- a new picture of him! She was very proud of it, and we made a huge fuss over it, and over her. I think we both needed that.

These pictures she draws of Dad are adorable. He uses them for his Facebook profile photo.

("Dad, I even made you a PIG nose!")

Now that we have lawns, they need to be mowed. In an effort to stave off my insistence that we will need professional help maintaining our new little park, Dave mows the lawn as early in the weekend as possible. Gabriel, being all about anything machine, said he wanted to mow the lawn. Hah, sucker kid -- you WILL be doing that someday and you won't want to! Unfortunately the mower we have is too hard for him to handle yet.

(Though we learned that Gabriel has reached an all-time weight high: he's a grand 48 pounds now!)

I'm famous for having regrets and pickinesses about things after they're done, and landscaping is no different. I tried hard this time to just let it go, just do what the designer recommended, don't overanalyze, don't change things, don't drive myself and everyone else crazy -- it'll be GREAT, and my usual nitpicking along the way will only complicate matters. Fine.

That said...I wish I'd thought more about our main backyard patios. There's a lovely patio area, but much of the day it's in the sun, while the shaded area closer to the house is (useless) lawn.

Still, Dave found a way to enjoy it today. This bench had its back against the planting area, but he rotated it to look at the yard instead of an ugly electrical panel on our deck. All he needs is a table to set his beer down on.

But he can't sit quietly for long before Gabriel tracks him down with yet another electronics question.

And so, relaxing with a beer turns into unexpected father-son bonding over electrical engineering. This is far better than father-daughter de-bonding over Mom's mistaken attempt to change a faltering pony-tail holder.

Ah, and then my payoff. Dinner, cooked completely on the grill. Welcome summer!


No comments: