Friday, March 29, 2013

It's Easy.

We're not up at Tahoe much these days. Other commitments seem to conspire against us. But every time I come up here I relax.

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 boots. 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.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Language of Lacrosse

Piedmont's 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 played. This guy knows his stuff. Tori'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.

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

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. What I found 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.

Liberty and I flew Orange County Friday morning to join her dance studio for its annual weekend of merriment. Her team performed at California Adventure Saturday afternoon as part of Disney's Performing Arts Program. 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 Christina Norris 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'. Christine 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.