Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Fun for the whole family!

Bethany Beach, Delaware might just be
paradise on Earth for three-years olds.

There are the aforementioned parades...

...fireworks and sparklers

There's picking blueberries with grandma
and then eating so many your poop turns violet.

There's Fun Land and with your cousins.

There's also walking into town for ice cream, going to the beach, water slides, a Care Bears tricycle that plays music while you pedal, and a grandmother who makes roll 'em up pancakes with powdered sugar every morning for breakfast.
And although I could do without the Care Bears song, it's a pretty good place for gown-ups too (we add booze, blue crabs, board games, and sleeping in while grandma makes breakfast).
Tomorrow we head out on the next stop of our great East Coast adventure: road trip to Vermont! Swimming in lakes, catching fireflies, and eating maple syrup to follow.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

What if I start wearing mom jeans?

Since I am no longer the home editor at Sunset and my mind has turned temporarily to travel, I've sort of fallen off my manic home makeover bandwagon. This also has to do with my newly refreshed urge to move out of our boxy, tiny house and into something a little more open, with a little better weather, and maybe some decent public schools nearby.
Yes, I am contemplating suburbia. Marin County, to be exact. Or sort of. I waffle. Part of me wants to raise cool city kids able to converse in Mandarin and navigate MUNI and enjoy a film in translation. And part of me remembers the childhood pleasures of hot summers, school yards with grass, and the feeling of having free reign over our little town.
A lot of my friends are crossing the Bay and settling into the land of parking lots and ice cream trucks. But I don't know. What if it makes us soft? What if my kids grow up thinking everyone is white? What if I start taking Pilates and walking around in my workout clothes with a giant nonfat iced latte in my hand at all times? It could happen.

A thing I like
I know he hasn't exactly fixed the economy (yet) and, well, the troops are still in Iraq. Healthcare looks like it's probably not going to get the radical full-body makeover it so desperately needs. But, I can't help it, I still love Obama with a purple passion. Which is why I like to waste my time scrolling through the White House Flickr page. My current favorite? This one of Michelle cradling a woman's face on Fourth of July. It's just so full of heart.

Monday, July 6, 2009

The great fireworks gobsmacking

I've always been ambivalent about Fourth of July fireworks. I feel about them the same way I feel about going to concerts, meaning I mostly enjoy them, but never quite enough to stop anticipating the moment they end and I can get on with the business of living quietly. I don't like noise. I don't like crowds. Plus, I live in a city where the fog mostly just obscures the fireworks so they look like a distant strobe pulsating behind the clouds.
Oh, and I grew up with a phonophobic mother, so firework displays weren't exactly a priority in our house.
In fact, the only one I remember as a kid was in Vermont. I was with my dad, step-mother and new baby sister. We were out in a field with a bunch of other people toting blankets and coolers (only we probably didn't have a cooler—we weren't the types to make special snacking arrangements). What I remember most is standing at the crest of a grassy hill, holding my baby sister in my arms and sobbing because I couldn't cover my ears while my dad and step-mother laughed at me.
But Bethany Beach takes their fireworks display very seriously and there is no greater parenting pleasure than introducing your kids to something you think they might find delightful (I can't wait for movies, Yosemite, and Disneyland). So on Saturday night we trekked the block and half to the beach and sat in the sand with the American hordes and watched fireworks. It was pretty impressive, actually.
The kids were, I think, ambivalent. Startled, awed, and a little annoyed. They covered their ears and sometimes hid their eyes, but part of them liked it. Mostly, they enjoyed talking about them once they were over.

Oliver practiced oohing and ahing beforehand and he performed admirably

Maggie figured out that if I held her ears, she was free to suck her thumb

A thing I like
The word "gobsmacked." It's come up a lot in the last couple of days and it's just so darn onomatopoetic: first the jaw drops—gaw—then the palm slaps the forehead—smack.
Maureen Dowd uses it here, in her skewering of everybody's favorite cuckoo bird, Sarah Palin. And Mighty Girl uses it here to describe her face while she tap dances (you gotta see this cuteness).
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