October 29, 2005
Sunny at Last!
It is finally warm and sunny this weekend. I was tired of the overcast weather. I don't need to experience it in California. I even turned off the automatic sprinklers because we were wasting water.
Dani and Charles are up at a Halloween party. I was there for the great eats and then walked home over the park paths. This place is so amazing. Everywhere you turn, the houses back up to a series of paths which inevitably lead to different parks. You can wander forever, it seems, and end up in parks or in neighborhoods. And, the association keeps up all the walkways so they have loads of flowers and are really beautiful. Glen and Ursula live about five blocks away, but are connected in the back of the house by this meandering of walkways. I enjoyed walking home after dinner -- The party crowd consisted of lots of children, pumpkin carving, people from the neighborhood and university, people who work with Ursula who is a dentist, other friends. I decided that a bit of peace and quiet called to me amidst the noise and confusion.
The four of us are in the middle of a great game called Eurorails. You build railroads all over Europe (there is also an American version) and try to move your goods from one place to another. Like Monopoly, it can take a very long time to play -- so we are in the middle awaiting the next space of time to return to our empires. It is complicated, but I'm learning.
Signe came down Thursday and we had a lovely day. We went to a British tea room and then did a bit of antiquing. There are so many places to shop down here that we just explored a few blocks and got to about four stores. We didn't buy anything -- just enjoyed ourselves. Then, she stayed for supper and left for home around 10:00. Yesterday, James and his dad went to the school's annual gazing at the galaxy. Every year, the students go out to the desert to lay on their backs and looks at the stars and their formations. The little kids have to recite a poem that they have created about the heavens. The big kids need to give a report on one of the myths that explain the constellations. Because they were gone from about 2:00 until about 11:00, Dani and I decided to go to the movies. In fact, we ended up going to two movies because we couldn't decide which one to see. So, we first saw Shop Girl with Steve Martin and then went to see Prime with Meryl Streep. Both were really good, but Prime was very funny.
Tomorrow is my final day here, but I don't know what we will do. Today was errand day and Kinsey got a much-hated bath. Tomorrow I think we'll go to dinner and then home for me on Monday. Where does time go?
October 26, 2005
The Travelers Have Returned!
It is a sad commentary that motherhood is little to write about -- that is, when I was taking care of James, it seemed as though the rhythm of life was so similar day to day that I neglected to write about it daily. Like what is new??? I have been pondering that thought -- because motherhood is anything but boring and usual. But, you get into a frame of mind as a mother, even a surrogate one -- it all seems like a blur.
But, I have now been put back into my rightful place as grandmother who is not in charge. Now, I can just sit back and think, "he was never that loud during bathtime" or "what do you mean he can stay up until 9:00? You told me 8:30!" However, the pressure is off and I don't have to worry about any of the rules or breaking them.
Pat and Sharon came up today. Mary drove over and we all went to lunch at Sherman Gardens. It was fun having the three cousins together. We had a lovely lunch and walked around the gardens. Sherman Gardens is a library and garden -- sort of a miniature Buchart Garden -- right in the middle of the city. It is close to Dani's on Pacific Coast Highway. We discovered it when we used to vacation in Balboa. It takes about fifteen minutes to see unless you dawdle and smell the flowers. It is seasonal and always beautiful. They have a restaurant that serves pretty nice meals. It was a fun day. Signe is comiing down tomorrow for a visit. Not much else to report.
October 23, 2005
James is in the bathtub getting rid of the grime of at least two or three days. But, then, he doesn't play in the dirt anymore. He was not perfectly content that I took him to walk the dog tonight. I told him that he needed walking as much as the dog since his activities were rather passive today. Chris Neal and Elizabeth came to visit and James decided to play with Sam instead of going to lunch with us. So, I think that Sam and James played Legos for at least three hours. I enjoyed seeing friends and we enjoyed a nice lunch. On the way home I took them to Rogers' Gardens which made us all happy for an hour or so. Their Halloween stuff was on sale, so I had to pick up something to decorate the McClellan/Wheeler household.
Dani and Charles are in Sintra tonight so I haven't been in touch. They will be back in Lisbon tomorrow and then home on Tuesday. I hope they have a bit of time to sightsee. It seems that they have mostly been traveling to and fro although their time at the monastary sounded lovely and relaxing. Tomorrow James is back at school and I've decided to go crawling through some stores on Pacific Coast Highway. Who knows? I haven't yet taken a day just to play -- maybe Monday is the day!
October 22, 2005
A Lazy Saturday Morning
James and I sat up late last night and watched DVDs. First we watched a movie about 5 British children during World War II who were sent to their eccentric uncle while their father went to war. I know enough about Britain at that time to know that many families sent their children out of London to the countryside to keep them safe. This comes, of course, from reading so many British novels. In any case, it seemed odd that the mother didn't accompany them -- but if she had, there would have been no wonderful reunion at the end of the film when the dad was found safe after being missing in action. The children uncover a sandfairy during their stay who grants their wishes for one day. It is very clever and enjoyable. Then we began on the second season of Arrested Development which is hardly a child's cup of tea -- but James loves it and his parents watch it with him. We watched the whole first season in Singapore.
Then James decided that he would like to sleep with me. This morning I told him that it was the very last time I was sleeping with him. He is all over the bed. He giggled and said that his dad won't sleep with him either. I let him sleep late and we slowly got up and had french toast for breakfast. Now after a lovely phone call with Jeni and one from Pat, I'm waiting until James' friend Sam gets home to see if he'd like to go with us to the science museum in Santa Ana. I think we'll do that this afternoon.
It has been overcast for two days and it rained last night. Not cold, but cool -- like autumn in the northwest without the lovely colors. I'm been kept busy keeping the birds outside fed, the birds inside fed and cleaned, the fish fed, and Kinsey, too. Kinsey has warmed up to me nicely -- the pieces of steak helped alot. Dani and Charles are back in Lisbon today from their monastary. Haven't talked to them yet.
October 21, 2005
Not Much New Here
Today is Friday and James just got out of school for the weekend. I'm not sure what we will do. I have a friend, Chris Neal, visiting on Sunday -- but maybe tomorrow he'll have a playdate with someone. Dani and Charles are leaving their monastary tomorrow and going back to Lisbon for one night. They have such a crazy situation -- lots of cash and a nice check for Charles' involvement in the conference as well as expenses -- but they can't cash it because it is drawn on an American bank. They can't convert their cash until the banks open on Monday -- so I ran down to put money in their ATM account today so they could pay their hotel bill and eat for the next few days. I guess Charles' paper went well.
Yesterday Mary came to visit and we had a relaxed, lovely time. She brought a great zucchini casserole for lunch and then helped James make chocolate chip cookies after he got home. I'll probably see her again next week. Not much else to report -- I made a trip to the bank, the grocery store where I had lunch, and the library today. They have such a cool library -- with a huge bookstore run by Friends of the Library. I bought three hardcovers -- new books -- for $3.00 today. Wow! Otherwise, just laid back and relaxing.
October 19, 2005
In the Flow
I'm really getting into this routine. Up at 6:45 and awaken James at 7:00. I go into the kitchen to make his lunch and he is up, dressed, and at the table in a few minutes. He eats, sometimes finishes his homework, gets stuff together and we walk Kinsey for 20 minutes. James' ride comes at 7:45 and he's out the door. Then I slowly finish up my chores -0- today that meant shopping and the laundry. At 3:00 I pick him up and he gets a phone call from his parents at 3:10. Then, the afternoon homework, snack, playing, dinner, walking Kinsey, bath, reading a chapter of his latest book and to bed. I kiss him goodnight at 8:30 and he falls immediately to sleep. How long can this last? He has been as good as gold. Missing his mom and dad -- but usually pretty amiable. So far, so good!
Dani and Charles are in Lisbon tonight and heading for the monastary and the conference tomorrow. Everyone at the hotel speaks Portuguese and there are no computers, so Dani had me email the conference to see if they were going to provide rides to the facility. It is about 30 minutes away and probably expensive by taxi (if anyone can even understand them). I hope the email works. She was pretty tired when I talked to her -- it seems like all the traveling is taking more time than they thought. It was also 11:15 pm and they were tired. So, I didn't get much information about today.
Tomorrow Don's niece, Mary, is coming over for lunch. My life is very routine and predictable. Not much interesting for a blog -- sorry!
October 18, 2005
The rain continues with a few sun breaks. Tomorrow is promised to be sunny. I did all the early morning mother duties (wow - how did I ever have three children!) and got James off to school - we even got in a two block Kinsey walk. Then I called a local Chevron and managed to take the Taurus in for servicing. I felt that Dani got exactly the right shop when the owner pointed to his own Taurus - same year, same color, same mileage! He provided transportation back to Dani's and I read in their huge, overstuffed chair for a lovely hour or so.
Got a phone call from Dani and Charles who were walking London. They had been to a play featuring William Hurt and heading back to their motel. We arranged for them to call James at 3:10 so I whisked him away from school right at 3:00. After his delicious phone call, we went shopping for food. We managed all the necessary elements this afternoon and evening -- homework, dinner, getting the car, food shopping, a walk with Kinsey, feeding animals, and now bath -- the reading and hugging goodnight to follow!
My leg has been achy and I'm not sure if I should continue my exercises or stop them to see if that is what is annoying it. I'm so very sick of aching legs! But, I persevere and walking doesn't seem to make them worse.
Not much more to report. Mary is coming over for lunch on Thursday and possibly Pat and Sharon. Chris Neal wants to come next Sunday and I haven't talked to Linda or Signe this week -- a busy, but fun, week of visiting. I must go and coax my child-for-a-week out of the bath.
October 17, 2005
And the Birds Are Singing!
I feel like I'm at Martin's and Christine's -- I'm sitting at Dani's computer and the birds are singing and singing! She has two new birds and it is the same exact sound that I hear when I'm talking to Martin or Christine on the phone -- it is amazing that such wee things can make such loud noises. I'm torn between talking to them and wooing Kinsey -- Kinsey is quite jealous of the birds. And, he is suspicious of me. So, I don't want to offend him too much.
The drive to Seattle was wet and blustery until just past Mt. Vernon when it got clear and absolutely beautiful -- everything was so bright and shiny. The lights were luminous after the rain. I was in time to sample a piece of Christine's plum pie (I think it was plum). It was yummy. But, I had trouble sleeping for some reason and so we left for the airport on too little sleep. After a rather bumpy and loud plane ride (but not scary), I arrived a few minutees early in Irvine. More rain! In fact, it is quite cool here today. So much for my shorts. Dani and Charles left around 2:00 for LAX and I picked up James and Sam from school at 3:00. I'm just about to return Sam home. James and I are going to go out to eat. I'll go to the market tomorrow -- but nothing is really exciting in the frig. Sam's dad took D&C to the airport. James seemed glad to see me -- I'll see how tonight goes when he misses his parents!
My work is cut out for me -- get Kinsey on my side, enjoy the birds, and do some writing while James is in school. I'm hoping to see some friends and relatives also. Dani has changed some things around at her house -- it really looks nice. Their green sofa is in the back bedroom which is also their study. I'm sitting at the computer looking out a picture window into the yard. Very pleasant! The plants are really blooming after our work this summer on the yard. And, the housecleaners came today so everything is spick and span.
October 15, 2005
My Published Trip to Maine
On arriving home from Maine, I received my weekly Writers online magazine which features current markets for writers. The first entry was Maine.Info online magazine which was open to new writers and information about Maine. Well! It was just too coincidental. So, I wrote something and sent it off to my wonderfully talented children for feedback. Martin, of course, corrected the Maine mistakes since he was along for the ride. With feedback and suggestions, I edited and sent it off. It is now published at www.maine.info and I was thrilled. Even a photo or two and a bio. It must have just meant to be. What a lovely ending to a great vacation. Yea Maine!