Monday, February 24, 2014

February's Flowers

They're purple and grey and green with a little orange and made of cotton. And they're sewn together with lots of love and a super soft Minky backside. Then they're mailed to a city on the eastern seaboard, a city still cold and snowy and deep into winter. To someone who needs to know that her California cousins are thinking of her and wishing they were there to make her matzoh ball soup. And drive her to appointments.

For now February's flowers will have to do.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Hanging out with Sophia

Do you recognize the smiley girl on the right? Yeah, neither did I. Apparently she's an 11-year-old  dance wunderkind, a role model for miniature dancers worldwide.

As it turned out, Sophia Lucia was at the same dance competition Thing 1 was over the weekend. And she was sweet enough to pop this picture with Thing 1. She was also classy enough not to audition along with the other children, leaving them with a chance to win scholarships and receive recognition, which Thing 1 did in the form of a jazz award.

This was the last dance convention of the season and I have to admit, I'm glad. From here on out it's just performances and competitions. Up next: Disneyland. Oh yeah, Dave will take her. Eldest Daughter and I will be at the annual NCL mother-daughter tea.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The smile says it all.

I'm not supposed to blog about Eldest Daughter. She tells me that it violates her privacy and makes her uncomfortable, too. However, today's milestone is too good to keep to myself.

Here's your hint. My friend Sharon posted this to my Facebook Page: Welcome to the New Driver's Parent Club. Valium is to the left. Martinis are to the right. The sound booth for screaming at insurance costs is straight ahead.

Yes, that day is here. Eldest Daughter got her driver's license. I knew she would pass on the first try, just like I knew I wouldn't. She is a good driver. (For the record, my 16th birthday was the day we moved into our Anchorage house. My father and I pulled the five-speed out of the shipping container and I took the test in that, a car I had not driven in three months, on the ice covered roads of an Anchorage winter day.)

The proud mother in me is jumping up and down in happiness for her, and for our new freedom. The scared mother in me knows what's to come: worrying about her driving in the rain, worrying about her navigating the turkeys that linger on the roadside every fall or the bikers that speed out of Diablo, through the stop sign.

Dave deserves all the credit for helping her reaching this milestone. He spent hundreds of hours with her behind the wheel of the car.

Be safe, sweetheart. Be safe.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Sunday night in the city.

For dinner I ate Scala carpaccio with my fingers. On the steps in Union Square. In the drizzle. Alone. Red lanterns are hanging for Chinese New Year. I shot this picture of a San Francisco heart. No one would recognize me. No makeup. Mist-curled hair. Raincoat.

I window shopped on my way back to the hotel. Louis Vuitton always has beautiful, creative displays. Loro Piana, which I didn't know a thing about until we went to the outlet near Venice. Kirk Geiger shoes. Bulgari, which I have never been inside. A twenty-something wearing a backpack on her cell phone telling the person she was talking to that she was looking for Powell Street yet walking away from it.

Unexpected pleasures.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

My firstborn is 16 today.

Random Thoughts:
  • How could this be? Wasn't she just born like yesterday?!
  • Can we take back teaching her to drive?
  • I hope her feet grow one more half size so we can share shoes.
  • Can we turn back the clock?
  • Will we ever be able to see the floor of her room again? Or the bathroom counter? I picked out that carpet and tile, you know?
  • I want to wear her Free People clothes. Will I ever fit in them?
  • Is Dave as freaked out about this 16 thing as I am?
  • This makes me feel old. Does it make my parents feel really old?
  • How did my sister-in-law deal with this when her daughters turned 16?
  • Seriously, how do we turn back the clock?
  • Alternatively, can I lock her up in her room and throw away the key until she's 18? Or 21?
  • Why does she need so many clothes?
  • How much of my hair has turned gray in the last 16 years?
  • Will we kill each other on the trip we're taking together Spring Break?
  • I must research arranged marriages.
  • Should I bring her a Tuxedo Hot Chocolate or a Vanilla Bean Frappuccino between classes?
  • Thank g/d she is not into the same things I was at her age.
  • This is a big day, a big deal. I'm so proud of her and happy she's my daughter.
Happy birthday sweet girl.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

The University of Washington

Often I look at Eldest Daughter and am shocked at what I see. She is so together, so ambitious and focused at this age. Add to that long brown hair, long legs and ridiculously long eyelashes that she lengthens with mascara. Is this child even mine?!

We experienced our first college tour together Monday at the University of Washington. It was cold and foggy, unlike the perfect, sunny day prior when we played tourist.

I didn’t take any college tours before I went off into the Wild, Wild (mid) West. Did they even do official college tours back then?! I remember visiting a friend at UCLA and another at Cal. And that was it. This child will visit many schools on her journey to pick one.

Our Beyonce-look-alike tour guide could simultaneously speak, smile with all of her face and gesticulate broadly with her hands. She was a perfect promotional vehicle for the school – all sweetness and light. We walked through the quad, the library, the computer science building, the union. We learned about the 800 student run organizations (aka clubs) and that California provides the second highest number of students to UW after the state of Washington. We learned that the average undergrad receives their degree in 4.1 years (what does that .1 mean anyway?!) and that 70% of freshman live on campus.

It was surprising to me how much the tour was a sales job. But then again I had nothing to compare it with. I worked very hard to keep my mouth shut during the tour so as not to influence Eldest Daughter's observations. Eldest Daughter and I both loved how the UW is a community within the large Seattle community. She mentioned it first. Remember, my mouth was clamped tightly shut. The setting is spectacular – on the lake with views of the ocean and Mt. Rainier and the Olympic Range. Although the school is large, 28,000 undergrads, the campus is fairly compact and the buildings were visually interesting. It’s a pretty campus. Eldest Daughter kept commenting on that.

This makes me wonder how much the physical appearance of a school influences its student appeal. I never gave it any thought. Madison, my UW, had a lot of beautiful old, historic buildings. In fact, I had classes in one that was built in 1851. Bascom Hall, the building most people associate with the school, was built in 1910. I never appreciated it although I did think the campus scenic with its location on the isthmus between Lake Mendota and Lake Monona.

One more down. TBD how many more to go.