Saturday, September 15, 2012

9/15/12 Car Wash

The boys have been clamoring for jobs to do to earn money....and what better than to wash cars? Actually, it'd take less time -- and probably less money -- to run the car through a car wash, but having them this industrious for over an hour was well worth it.

Though two boys and two hoses within 5 miles of each other is most certainly going to lead to problems.

And to some antics with photo-taking. The boys were laughing WAY too hard as I took these photos, but Gabriel managed to time it perfectly so I didn't notice his lewd positioning of the hose nozzle until I looked at the photo later.

This was a good job for them, they were busy and the cars really were dirty!

I used up some coupons and sales from LL Bean and got some new shirts for the boys: some actual button-down nice-looking shirts. Gabriel rejected the idea instantly, and Julian followed suit, but today Julian showed up wearing his new shirt. He's showing more and more signs of being interesting in his appearance, and blushes when I compliment him.

I couldn't take my eyes off him. SO handsome!

To me, kid-shirts are to be worn and washed and abused, not put in a glass case and admired, so I didn't mind him wearing it for car-washing (thank you LL Bean).

Meantime, Katrina and I had a playdate -- her with an old friend Saul, and me with Saul's mother Sara, and even older friend to me. Sara and I have known each other a long time, but not well until we found ourselves in our 40s and in prenatal yoga together with babies due and born in 2006. Katrina and Saul don't know each other all that well, but I was happy to see Katrina open up and actually play with this open bright little boy, instead of hiding out by herself.

Overall a productive -- anc cleaner -- day!


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

9/12/12 "Mom, my b*tt itches!"

Most of the time, if Julian says something about his rear end, it can be ignored as yet another transparent attempt to use bathroom words in an inappropriate context. Which I did. Ignore it.

But tonight just before his bath, he showed up naked in the kitchen. "Mom, my butt still itches." And WOW. He had a glaring, nasty, bumpy red rash all over his rear end - and front end (fortunately minus the most important parts).

The best I can figure is that my laziness about washing new clothes before wearing -- including underpants for 8-year-old boys -- has caught up with me. My only excuse: they're not babies after all, and overall aren't "allergic" sorts of kids....err, right?

And of course I let the state of underwear quality get to the point of such drastic desperation that time to wash the darned things before wearing was merely a formality. I thought.

Well, it's only a theory, but given the placement of this rash, it's the best I've got.

Most interesting to me, it's yet another indication of how constitutionally, Julian is just different than his siblings. Aside from Katrina's inexplicable hive episodes as a baby, overall, things like this just don't happen to her, and never to Gabriel. For the most part I've escaped these regular events in the modern world of parenting, but if it's going to happen to any kid, it's most likely Mr. Middle.

A liberal slathering of Gold Bond on the "affected areas," and I think he'll be good to go. But yikes, I think I'll pay 1% more attention the next time Pot-Mouth mentions "itching."

Speaking of substances, lately, Julian wants to Dippity-Do his ultra-straight hair into lofty styles. This he did with just water and it fell flat minutes later, but he begged for a photo first:

I am very amused to find a comb and puddles all over the sink after Mr Vanity has been in the bathroom -- and here I thought teenage years were a ways off! But at least by then, he'll have to wash his own skivvies.


9/12/12 Alamere Falls

(Fast-forward to the GOOD photos from my accomapanying photographer: Shutterfly Photos)

Two weekends ago, I went on my first grownup hike in a long, long time.

My friend S. has been a mentor to me for many years now for camping and hiking and outdoors things. So when she told me she'd bought a new book with lots of great hikes in the area and we should plan one together sometime, I said absolutely! It took all summer, but we found a Sunday that would work, and planned it weeks ahead.

Turns out, this excursion would involve cheese. In the tiny town Pt. Reyes Station, there is a funky little grocery in a barn, that has a cheesery and a very attractive selection of locally made cheese. Had we been at Whole Foods, I'd have bristled at the price, but this was authentic!

After securing ourselves the required fermented dairy products for lunch, we found a great spot for a self-time photo to document the goofy absurdity of our mutual choices for outerwear that day.

(yes, total pink dorks, but those light fleeces really worked.

And then it was time to hike!

This hike really deserved its rank in a book of Top 100 Hikes in the Bay Area, given its fantastic diversity of views and places.

There were the foggy bluffs...

The coastal views....

The forested canopies...

The swimming-hole lakes...

The craggy climbing trails, at which neither of us hesitated, though they don't look like a trail on first glance...

Until a volunteer provides perspective...

Unexpectedly, we came across some "pre-falls" -- that is, waterfalls that feed into the destination falls. Just these deserved plenty of airtime (and photographic talent, which I outsourced to S.), and we hadn't even gotten to the good stuff....


A little scramble down some quasi-stable cliffs, and there we were on the beach, in full view of the attraction falls -- perhaps at a low point this time of year, but nonetheless spectacular for desert-y California.

Not often you see waterfalls and ocean in the same view!

And there is never anything less than spectacular or glorious about being on a beach in a National Park. Though this was S's 6th National Park of the year, she too was no less in awe.

We did a little climbing and scrambling to explore the beach, while I scare-talked stories of people getting swept away by rogue waves -- this would be the place! But we noticed the tide going out, and concluded our risk of getting trapped or washed away by tides was low.

We found a scenic spot for lunch.

And did a little more beach exploration afterward, during which time the sun graced us by burning through the fog. S.took this as a great photographic opportunity; me and my inadequate little point-and-shoot just had to cope.

Normally hikers, oddly in sync with motorcyclists, bristle at the idea of having to backtrack, but there was nothing lost at all in this hike by backtracking. It looked and felt completely different coming the other way, and the weather had changed enough that it really was a truly different experience.

This was one landmark we made sure to notice in both directions, however. S's photos are far better, but this isn't just about art, it's about reminding ourselves about boundaries, a topic we had license to yak about unfettered for hours. And what a lovely one this is.

Ladies, don't forget: boundaries.

We must have missed this on the way out, but this is about the most convoluted eucalyptus tree I've ever seen in my life!

From there, we drove to Mountain View on the Peninsula, drastically underestimating the time it would take to drove on Hwy 1 to the Golden Gate Bridge, then the traffic on Sunday evenings into San Francisco on said bridge. For some idiotic reason, I checked FaceBook, and not only didn't receive the foolish validation I couldn't have imagined to receive, but worse, saw some confirmation of some very painful, personal revelations.

Fortunately for me, my friend with the wounded ankle was there to pick me up (what a pair WE are!!!) and we had a nice dinner in a trendy downtown Mt View restaurant -- barefoot and purple-pedicured and all. (Well, what else are you supposed to do with an injured ankle?!)

A few cocktails (much needed!) and some yummy tapas later, and civilization had returned.

A far superior set of photos than I could ever hope to capture: Alamere Falls Hike

And as always a better written description as well: Girls Day Out. That's what happens when you travel with a writer.

We're both in a bittersweet stage of life, strangely similar but with drastic differences, but were brought together by basic enjoyment of the beautiful outdoors and the escape and respite it provides from our painful realities. We agreed this was a great way to spend the day, setbacks and all (S. really hurt her ankle for instance, owch), but we will most definitely have to pursue lovely hikes and fantastic cheese again!