Sunday, February 22, 2009

Road trip two: San Francisco

One week ago Jules had a three-day weekend, so we decided to drive up to SF and see some folks. We were going to head out Friday night, but the Grapevine was gummed up due to snow and high winds. (The Grapevine is the pass throught the mountainy regions just north of LA.) So we left Saturday. Here's Zack ready to go.

Here's Zack telling two of his fish why leaving Saturday would have sucked. SUCKED. Ready for this? Saturday morning the pipe feeding our water heater sprung a leak. When the plumber came to unscrew things, the offending section of pipe just came off in his hand. Under his breath he said "you guys are so lucky." Yep, if we'd left Friday we would've come home to a swamp in our apartment.

Armed with our lucky vibes we crossed the Grapevine without incident and emerged onto Route 5. I don't know where on Route 5 I took this picture, but it doesn't really matter. It's a long, straight road flanked by flat landscape with few features. Hypnotic, and in the cow territories, stinky.

The Friday plan had the advantage of synching Zack's bedtime with the car trip, and we were worried that an afternoon would be too much for him to take. Not so! He was a champ traveller, he zonked out on the Grapevine for a few hours, then Mommy joined him in the back seat to keep him happy. He timed his fussiness with the emergence of Pea Soup Anderson's on the horizon, so we stopped for refreshing soupy goodness. When we left -- bedtime! Perfect.

We stayed at our friends Adam and Jeannette's house, which they recently remodeled. It looks great. Sunday it rained all day, and we were only too happy to lounge around in our PJs and do whatever, as you see here.

Oona reads a story to Zack.

Since we didn't go anywhere, we had friends of ours come to see us. Here's Joe Jordan sharing a photo moment with Zack...

and here's another one, because I couldn't decide which one I liked better.

Later Oona reads Zack his favorite book, Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?

And in typical Zack fashion, he lunges for it. That boy loves him some Brown Bear.

That night Blake, Jamie and Natalie came over to meet the boy, eat delicious Indian food and laugh it up. I love my new life in LA but I miss those guys like crazy. Hanging out was a blast.

Boy, you got a monkey on your head.

I know Z looks really unhappy in this picture, but he wasn't, really. The following morning we had a leisurely time getting our stuff together and doing some more hanging out with the Woodburys (except for Jeannette, who had to go to work early. Boo.)

Some huggles with Adam before we left.

Some more.

Hey! Give me some Italian food!

Before our return trip, we headed into Berkeley to have lunch with more awesome people who hadn't yet met Zack. Sherm commented on the intense stare Zack gave him in the backseat; we assured him it was just Z's "assessment" face.

I'm happy to include Elizabeth in this post because she apparently checks our blog a lot and never comments. A "lurker," in the vernacular. Hi Elizabeth! It was so great to see you!

Elizabeth's bohunk Charlie took a trio of pictures I once again could not decide between.

Also great to see was Alex, who was busy managing the restaurant. (That's his shirt in the background there, and the only picture of him I got.)

The food was deee-licious. If you get the chance, it's Corso on Shattuck in Berkeley. Yummy. And if you're really lucky, go there with Charlie. He's got an in.

With savory aftertastes on our tongues, we said goodbye and got on the road. Zack sacked out instantly. The sun, with its usual irony, decided to emerge just as we were leaving. Julie noted that the water gods had been particularly kind to us this weekend, when...

A lightboard beside the freeway let us know the Grapevine was cuh-losed! Dang it! We took the 101 down, which is less direct but much, much easier on the eyes. I'd never taken that route before and was knocked silly by all the pretty vistas. I was reminded of the countryside around Florence more than once.

But then... rain! Those water gods are fickle, all right. It came down off and on throughout the entire trip home, two times with such intensity we almost pulled over.

At a pitstop in I Have No Idea Where, I let Z stretch his legs while Julie hunted up supplies. Since we couldn't hang out outside, I stood him on my lap in the back seat. Anywhere in the car besides his carseat is terra incognita, so he was into it.

I shot these without knowing exactly what I'd get, resulting in some, ah, unorthodox compositions.

Oh, there's his face!

This is the last shot I took before my batteries conked out. We saw several of these big, fat rainbows, and sometimes saw the spots where they appeared to "touch down." Too bad we were on a tight schedule and had no time for pot-'o-gold-hunting.

The trip home was a long and stressful drive, but we traded off and kept our cool and it actually didn't take too much longer than the 5 would've taken. Zack was a trooper once again, keeping his spirits up or sleeping the whole way, only to wake up and freak out less than ten minutes from our house.

What a great trip.

Road trip one: Long Beach Aquarium

Two weeks ago we took Zack to the The Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, CA.  We've taken him to the tropical fish store in town a couple of times, and he digs watching those little dudes swim around.  

So as you can see here, the aquarium really upped the ante. The seals were going out of their way to interact with the kids on the other side of the glass. I got Zack right up there and he got some face time.

Of course, Zack is as fascinated by new people and places as he is with marine life, so he had a great time watcing humans, too. Here he's checking out the group of older kids next to us who were clamoring for seal action.

One cool feature of the aquarium were two huge tanks equipped with glass-walled tunnels for the humans to walk through. So the attention-hogging seals can have their fun and I can pretend like I'm a National Geographic photographer.

In addition to marine animals there is the large lorikeet enclosure. You go through the little airlock (birdlock?) and the bright critters are zipping all around you. These guys have no fear of humans and will fly right past your head.

Here's a little SoCal skyline for ya.

Z really liked watching the big sharks swim past.

Jellyfish! Eeww! Maybe jellyfish displays are common in aquariums now, but I don't remember ever seeing them before. They had a number of jellyfish tanks at Long Beach.

I tried to get pictures of each kind, and I shot a half-minute of video at each tank as well. When you're not worried about getting stung by the things, you can really hang back and enjoy the fluid, alien grace.

Li'l ones!

A venemous lionfish. They also have some rare sea-dragons, those sea-horse-looking things with crazy seaweed camoflage, but they eluded photography. At least good photography.

The trip was a bit hit for all of us. I'm looking forward to going back. I saw one dad hauling his screaming, emptyhanded kid out of the gift shop and thought "aww, someday soon that'll be me."

Saturday, February 21, 2009

A classic.

Seriously, I promise Jeff is working on the Aquarium and SF pics, but this one was just so good I had to share it immediately.

Mom is feeling better today so we are very relieved.  She has a long recovery ahead of her.  Jeff called her, which really got her all emotional.  Boy, does my family love Jeff.

In other news, we had long talks on our SF drive about how to buy Julie a little more writing and alone time.  I started working on a new pilot, and days and days went by with no work completed.  Finally I realized I can't fit writing into the unused moments of my day.  I actually have to schedule it now, which I've never done, really, in spite of dire warnings from writing teachers.  I just wrote whenever the mood struck, but that's not possible anymore.  So I'm leaving Zack in daycare for a couple hours here and there, and that will be my office time.  I was really looking forward to getting that routine started this week, and then I was sick, Mom was in the hospital, and well, it didn't happen.

But I did send Jeff and Zack out to the park while I got some delicious alone time today.  I'm really going to carve out some more of that for myself.  It's a must.

And to be extra geeky about my new alone time, I cannot overstate my excitement about the Todo Iphone app, which syncs with Ical.  I mean, come on, how long did that take, and why did it cost me ten extra dollars?  But who cares.  I'm just so glad it's finally here.  I had such a great time crossing things off my list today.

AND--I downloaded Ifart.  Okay, I actually downloaded a free knockoff of Ifart.  But come on, how much do these apps rule?  I can now create shopping templates, keep track of my mileage, play a car driving game, play Scrabble (yes, Scrabble, which basically was the only reason I was holding on to my old PDA--thank you Jesus for finally getting Scrabble to the Iphone), make to do lists...and fart.  I want to kiss Steve Jobs on the mouth.

Baby Summit

Jeff has all the SF and Aquarium pics on his computer, and I'm sure he'll post them soon.  In the meantime, here are some pictures of a little outing we took to the park a couple days ago, where Zack met with Wes, Izzy, and Lucy for a conference, networking, and snacks.

Wes is eating an apple, and he's six weeks younger than Zack, who is mostly a boobetarian still.  Zack refused solids all day today, actually, even for Elsa, our magical daycare worker.  But maybe it's because he has a cough.

As you can see, though, he's just about to take off.  He's come very close to crawling recently.

And there he is in all his glory.

Mom took a turn for the worse and we are very worried about her.  Unfortunately, I cannot visit her, because I've had a bad cold this week, and she is neutropenic  (has very low white blood cells, so no immunity).

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Happy February 18th!

It's the two year anniversary of the day I saw Jeff at our friend Mike's house and had my epiphany that we should be together.  I wish all my instincts in this life had been as right as the one I had that day.

More pictures from our big San Francisco trip will be up soon.

In sadder news, my mom is in the hospital and it's actually kind of serious, although it looks like she will rally.  Please send good thoughts.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009