Friday, March 29, 2013

It's Easy.

We're not up at Tahoe much these days. The kids' activities, work and other commitments seem to conspire against us.

But every time I come up here I relax, even when I'm on my laptop working, which is more often than not.

I vacillate on whether or not we should sell our place. It sits empty more often than not. But it's so easy to be here. So easy to walk to Starbucks. To Mamasake. To the funitel. So easy to pull into the garage and leave the car untouched for a day or a weekend or a week. I like the convenience of having our ski gear in one place. I like having a place my kids call home, so different from our home in the Bay. I like that they view the ski resort as their backyard and play outside for hours with their friends. I like that our family has a decade of memories here.

Today I sit in bed, propped up on pillows, looking out my window at some of the country's best skiers competing for US National Alpine titles. People stop by and say hello. I take my time in the kitchen, looking forward to the arrival of friends tonight for dinner.

The Sunday paper arrives at the front door and I have time to read it. I like listening to and talking with Dave. I like the sound of the crunchy spring snow, thawed and refrozen, under my Sorel's. I like the cold air, warmed by the sun in March. I like the happy families and little kids that look too small to be on skis. I like the taste of a cold beer after skiing at altitude.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Green Apples

Every six weeks it's my turn to drive the dance carpool. This involves shuttling six girls from a class at one location to a second class at a different location. There is a half-hour and two miles between classes.

Since September I've taken this responsibility very seriously. Because of working mother guilt, I've given lots of thought to the snacks I bring. The first time I brought individual scoops of Ben & Jerry's. Another time I took the kids out for Slurpee's. A third time I lovingly baked Tollhouse cookies, which were still warm from the oven when served.

This time I brought green apples. Organic of course. The kids were just as happy with them as they were the over-thought tummy trash. They disappeared just as fast as did those chocolate chip cookies. Who would have thunk it?

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Language of Lacrosse

Have you ever been to Piedmont? Its charm and blind curves remind me of Orinda, where I spent part of my childhood. It's hidden in the Oakland hills and I'd never been there until Saturday's lacrosse game.

Witter Field, as far as I can tell, has no parking lot. If it does it's well-hidden, just like the field itself, which is part of Piedmont High School.

This is completely consistent with my lacrosse experience: confusing and revealing itself little by little.

The first thing you notice at an elementary-school-aged girls lacrosse game is the silence from the bleachers. Deafening silence. Nice oxymoron.

Few parents understand the game enough to backseat coach the same way they do at soccer or softball games. Every now and then one claps or yells "She's hot!" but other than that they are quiet or count softly to three. Three is the number of times the ball has to be passed before a player can attempt a goal. Being hot means it's now an option to shoot. The kids can actually hear the coach's instructions because the parents aren't drowning them out.

Our coach played at Notre Dame and coached boys' high school lacrosse before his own daughter was old enough to play. This guy knows his stuff. Thing 2's team is good. Really good. We didn't know how good until we started crushing playing other teams. Our goalie may as well be weaving baskets from blades of grass. Our coach also appears to be a classy guy, having the girls stop going for the goal when it came just shy of the time we humiliated the other team by a ridiculous blowout discrepancy in the scoring.

The girls wear kilts. Thing 2 happily wears it. Yesterday it was turned sideways with the stripe running down the front and the back. She looked like a skunk.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

I miss Mountain View.

Not my job because I like my new gig. But the city of Mountain View, I miss.

My new gig is in a big office park. Applebee's is across the street. The biggest draws I've found thus far are Sports Basement and a bakery named A Sweet Affair.

Walnut Creek lacks the charm of Mountain View with its Jane's Beer Store, Tapioca Express and Global Beads.

I miss the $8, 5 minute threading. I miss the diversity of people and thought. I miss the subtle yet urgent smell of technological advances. And I miss the sound of the train. I even miss the musty stale smell of the secondhand bookstore.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

The E Ticket Ride

Yep, I went on it last weekend. It's called Radiator Springs Racer and it's in Cars Land. Cars Land is the 12-acre add on to Disney's California Adventure theme park based on Pixar's Cars movie. I could tell you how cool it was, and trust me, it was, but what I found equally interesting was the line. At 9pm the line was 120 minutes long. There is very little I'd wait in line two hours for. The daily Fast Passes were gone 30 minutes after the park's opening. Thank G/d for friends who are VIPs.

Thing 1 and I flew Orange County Friday morning to join her dance studio for its annual weekend of merriment. Her team performed at CA Saturday afternoon as part of Disney's Performing Arts Program. (See below. Thing 1 is front right in red.) It was hard not to have a good time. I could focus on the needs of just one child and do whatever she wanted. We ran around the parks with her friends and from one's mom I learned many Disney best practices. Our Disney experiences will be forever better.

The parks, incidentally, seemed more crowded at night than they did during the afternoon. I think the gorgeous weather drove the adults poolside for a break from the chaos and the adults with young kids back to their rooms for naps. Friday night we had dinner at Goofy's Kitchen with a bunch of other dance team families. The kids loved that the characters just came by our table instead of us having to hunt them down in the park.

The thing about traveling with a large group of people is that you are surrounded by friendly faces everywhere you go. And they tell you what they did that was neat. As much ground as we covered in two days, there were still many things we did not see. My favorite ride seems to be Toy Story, where you put on 3D glasses and the Toy Story characters guide you through a shooting arcade which you traverse in a moving vehicle. It's like target shooting from inside the game.

Aside from seeing my daughter shine on stage and enjoying the California sunshine in the 80s, the highlight for me was the big roller coaster, California Screamin'. The aforementioned mom talked me into it and I figured it was worth the risk since she very well knew I might throw up on her. I nearly hopped out of line when it time to board but stuck with it because I knew I'd be proud of myself afterwards. Sure enough, it was a blast. I went on it twice more, the last time at night and in the front car which I can honestly say is 50% scarier.

My little thrill-seeker had fun with her friends and I got to know some mommies I might not otherwise have. It's also a treat to hang out with someone who knows the ropes. Usually I lead. This time I followed. This made it quite relaxing. I'm used to juggling the needs of multiple family members.

On Sunday we drove home with friends, stopping at the LA Farmer's Market for breakfast en route home. Happy birthday to me.

Monday, March 4, 2013

The Turkey

There is a turkey that lives outside my office building. He spends his days walking around the building looking at himself in the reflective glass. I've nicknamed him Lurkey. In the mornings he always seems to position himself between me and the door. I'm not thinking about preditory turkeys first thing so it catches me off guard. Today Lurkey puffed up his tail feathers when he saw me. Google tells me that this is a sign of aggression. Lovely. We are not friends, Lurkey and I.