Tag Archives: weather

Wrap-up: The Julia Trip

We were in California for three whole weeks and yet, now that I’m home, it feels like it was only a few days!

We did a lot of cool things, my daughter and I, and I got to know Julia’s toddler too, which was wonderful. But of course Julia has a job that seems to think she needs to come in EVERY weekday for a LONG time. Can you believe that? I wanted to call them up and be all “do you KNOW that I’m here?!”

Anyway, I wanted to tell you about some of the fun things we did, so consider this your full report.

Weekend 1: We rode the little steam engine train at the park in Los Gatos and my daughter also had her first Carousel ride!

The Wildcat Railroad is a real miniature steam engine train. It chugs, it choos, it gets filled with water between trips.

Never too early to learn to keep your heels down…

We also went to the pool and some various playgrounds where our kids tried to dominate the sand toys of other children. Also, the both of the kids in the back seat going places? So fun. We pretty much had to sing OVER the crying.

Week 1: During the week, I played with my daughter at nearby playgrounds during the day and sometimes at Julia’s parents’ house. The weather was pretty amazing: cool in the mornings, warm-getting hot in the afternoons, mild in the evening, and cool at night. I could see myself in this!

Weekend 2: Julia’s mom had a really nice luncheon under the pergola. Not only was the food incredible and gorgeous (like eating in a catalog, people, Gary and Elaine would have been thrilled) but I am hoping to use the phrase “luncheon under the pergola” a lot more in my life. Also, Trader Joe’s Red Pepper Spread…sigh. I think we also went to the pool and played outside and the kids got very wet at the playground by Julia’s house. I can’t remember. They got wet frequently. They’re toddlers.

borrowing Julia’s sunhat

Week 2: I had trouble keeping my kid on Julia’s kid’s sleeping schedule, she seemed to drift to her home bedtimes despite the time difference. I spent a lot of time taking her to the playground, the grocery store, and trying to ignore the rising heat. We went into San Jose twice on the very convenient 81 bus where we visited the San Jose Museum of Art, the St Joseph Cathedral (for 55% of a mass), and ate really delicious vegan curry-things at the Karma Cafe. The Museum of Art had some really nice interactive programs. You could grab a shoulder bag with art supplies in it to take with you through the museum (my daughter colored) and there was also a pin-making exhibit as part of an artist’s “political campaign” piece. My daughter and I both made pins. There were extra-large “paper dolls” of famous politicians onto which you could put magnetic cut-out clothes, that was fun for her too. My favorite was the exhibit of drawings from Sandow Birk’s “Divine Comedy,” a re-imagining of Dante’s work in modern settings, mostly NYC and LA.

When it finally hit 100 F towards the end of the week, I was ready to take back all the nice things I said about California weather. Even so, 100 there is not like 100 here, it was less humid, they are better prepared for it, so it doesn’t seem quite SO bad, but my Scandinavian blood was hitting a mild simmer. At some point I made Julia a cherry pie, but we were trying not to turn on the oven, so many salads were made for dinner. I might blog about them at some point.

Weekend 3: Since I was leaving on Monday, we crammed a bunch of things into our last weekend. First, we took the kids to the San Jose Children’s Discovery Museum. It was fantastic. It had so much to do for all ages of kids, everything hands on, and each of our children found something to fixate on for long periods. I told Julia that they should just install Closed Circuit TV’s, lock the exits, and put in a wine bar where you can watch your kids on screen.

We had Julia’s parents over for dinner on the patio, Julia made some terrific food, also very photogenic (why didn’t I photograph the food?). My daughter finally started going to bed at something approaching the house bedtime, a day before we were leaving…

And we went to the beach! It was an abrupt change of weather, like I knew it would be, but wow. It really was. I forget all the time how much of a differential it is–it was very cool and refreshing 60 F. The kids got their toes wet, took naps, ate fish and chips with us and Julia’s parents on the warm sand. I sunburned my knees. Julia sunburned her nose. The kids were spared due to our diligent sunscreen applications and hat placements and re-placements. Go us!

My daughter and I had lots of good times and I’m SO glad I went. It was a trip that was a long time coming. I will miss the beach, the pool, the playgrounds, the fruit, Trader Joe’s and other fine supermarkets, and Julia’s dishwasher. But most of all, I’ll miss the little things like the kids playing in the bathtub together, learning stuff from each other, the singing of Russian children’s songs, making Julia dinner, and seeing her every night after the kids go to bed. If teleportation existed, you better believe we’d be kicking back almost every night around 9pm PST/12 EST with some vodka-limeade. Since it doesn’t, I hope that our continued electronic correspondance tides us over until the next time I can afford/bear the thought of flying across the continent that obnoxiously gets in the way of our mommy-fun-time.

Thanks Julia, miss you more than dishwashers…

April Showers

My husband got home from London last night where he had been for the last 10 days doing extremely esoteric book-reading at the British Library (during their “busy season” no less). Our daughter had already gone to bed before he rolled in at 10:30pm, so she woke up this morning to a surprise dada next to her in bed. She was rather delighted and gave him kisses.

He had brought her presents such a Paddington Bear from Paddington Station and the accompanying storybook, so he was pretty popular this morning.

We dragged ourselves outside to get an early dinner even though it was raining, cold, and windy. My daughter loves to carry umbrellas but she’s not tall enough or strong enough yet to really manage them so it’s really me holding the thing and carrying her, while she pretends to hold the umbrella up. My left bicep is totally made of steel, people. If only the rest of me was in the same shape (and yes, I know, round is a shape).

I looked at the weather for this week. Big mistake. Rain, rain, and more cold rain. Oh, and possible SNOW on Tuesday. But probably just really cold rain. Le grande sigh. And yes, I’m blogging about the weather. Le double grande sigh.

I know it’s April and all, so this should not come as any surprise. And I half expect there to be 4 good days of lovely spring weather toward the end of the month or the beginning of May. Then, it will get unbearably hot and stay that way until September. And during that time, I will be thinking fondly, “wouldn’t it be awesome if some cold water started falling from the sky?”

My little peach and her Umbrella

For my daughter’s first birthday, I gave her a pair of rain boots, a matching umbrella, and the book “Umbrella,” by Taro Yashima.

In the book, the 3 year old NYC girl “Momo” (which means “peach” in Japanese), gets a pair of boots and an umbrella for her birthday and then can’t wait for it to rain so she can use them. It used to be one of my favorite books when I was little. The book has wonderful illustrations that I have always remembered. The use of color and shading– it’s a child-like vision of the world but created by a master illustrator.

My daughter loves her boots almost as much as Momo; she puts them on in the house, barefoot, and runs around in them. I bought the boots a bit big, so they are just starting to fit well now, 3 months later. She’s still a bit small to carry the umbrella by herself, but she tries. Anyway, it was raining, but not freezing, a couple days ago, so we decided to take advantage of the moment.

When blowing out daughter’s first birthday candle, I made a wish for her, since she was too little to make her own. I wished that it would never rain on her parade, but if it did, that she’d always have the most fabulous umbrella. In many ways, I think she does.


So it begins.

I knew summer was over and was really getting into the swing of fall, but now it feels like it’s almost winter. I remember the winter seeming to last forever last year, possibly because I had a newborn and so the cool September and October weather seemed wintery to my protective-maternal side. But I’m bracing myself for the long ride again. Winter around here seems to go on well into April.

The coats and hats and mittens have been unearthed. Close-toed shoes have been newly acquired. There may not be many more days that we can go to the playground for long stretches of time and so I’m already mentally preparing alternatives so that we do not go mad trapped in the house every day. Last winter, my daughter was just a tiny baby so she didn’t care too much about WHERE she was as long as I was there and giving her all my attention. Now, she wants 99% of my attention and a lot to do. Possibly with new friends. Possibly with large areas in which to run around. Also shoes.

On more fun note, I’m thinking about my thanksgiving menu. My mom and her husband are going to come visit us and while they probably do not expect “thanksgiving dinner,” we still have to eat something so I may as well find some fun new recipes to make. I should also mention that planning ahead is practically necessary, since we’ll have mostly vegetarians, one person who cannot eat any dairy, one person who won’t eat anything unhealthy and will probably bring her own quinoa (they have it here, mom, really), and one person who will throw everything on the floor.

The ladies over at Rants from Mommyland call it the “death spiral,” that moment you hit Halloween and watch all your time and energy get sucked into holidays and projects. I guess it hits the parents of school-kids harder. But I agree that there is a definite momentum and the to-do lists get pretty intimidating as November trudges on. I haven’t just started my November to-do list by copying over the 6 as-yet-incomplete things from October and adding 3 more things. And then the toddler deleted my sticky.

Happy November.