couch surfing road trip

WHEN KIDS TAKE PICTURES   I go to a restaurant and I want to eat in peace and not be thrown out so I give my kid my phone.  Later I find many, many photos on my phone that I delete.  But sometimes there is a gem.  Perhaps I should an curate art show.  “Shots my kid took that were actually good.” I bet, you have found some good ones as well?  By the way… Who puts Venetian plaster on a ceiling? When you travel as we just did, you do go to restaurants more than at home.  So it’s good to have your batteries charged. The ones in your phone, for your human battieries, you get out of town.  But, when you are watching the dollars, HOW?  We did a couch surfing through California trip.  It helps if your friends live in cool places.  Our first stop is with the Abascals at their Vines of the Marycrest winery.  Victor family knew my family so when our kids play we are gazing upon  a third generation friendship.  They live in Paso Robles and we speed up the road so we could get to the town square in time for Paso’s first concert in the park of the summer. vines of the marycrestI love this picture, except I’m not sure why I have my hand like that.  Perhaps my hand wanted more wine since it’s pointing in the direction of Vic’s winery.  We are Culver City kids and he planted his first vines on our hill at the top which is called Marycrest Manor. Objectively, the wine is great and I’m a wine snob.  You can’t find it in stores unless you live in Paso, so order some!   We use to serve one of his reds, “Heart of Glass” at Campanile when it was, well, you know… open. The most recent vintage of Heart that I tasted has a great smokey taste to it. Now, in general I’m not a fan of California wines.  I tend to like the taste of old world wines more.  More restrained.  Victor has found the balance of restraint with the fruit flavor we get from our California reds.  Plus, his rose’ “Summertime” is so good I bought a case and passed them out like Johnny Appleseed as host presents to all those who put us up for the night.  Another reason my first stop is his place.  I’m a white wine nut, usually French whites, which, I use to be surprised by, are often cheaper than California whites.  I like the dry, crisp, mineral nature of them.  However, once again Culver City boy has made a white I love.  Appropriately titled, “At Last”.  You can see he likes music.  None of the overly fruit, buttery Cal syrup I can’t stand.  Goes great with fish, cheese, the leftovers I’m eating right now standing in front of my fridge.  Oh, we’ll skip that. I love the dry air up in Paso there and we walked the vineyards before hitting the road to San Fran which has cold damp air that I don’t love.  vines of the marycrest All 26 acres was covered in almond trees and Victor took them out himself.  So, you could buy some crap wine that has the muscle to get into  a supermarket, but why?  Often for the same price you can buy quality stuff from people who don’t have the marketing budget.  Please, don’t tell me there is good wine at Trader Joe’s.  There isn’t. vines of the marycrest moms who love wine   Back in the car the next day.. if I’m not driving I watch a movie with the kids.  “Nanny McPhee” is good.  Guess Rex had seen enough.colin firthroad trip with kids There is never enough time to see all the friends I want to in Nor. Cal.  I lived there for 12 years.   We had expensive dinner in SF.  It was good, largely seafood, but I was surprised at the cost.  No wonder I cook at home more often than not these days.  The problem is where to source good ingredients.  My local markets fish, eh at best.  I just got ground beef that was neither smart, but certainly final, the final time I buy meat from them.  I digress. We save on a hotel though.. a friend left the keys to her SF pad for us ( she was in Tahoe).  My kids were so charmed by the small balcony and little back yard. san fran with kids I think Rex started to go nihilistic urbannihilistic child I tried to explain that this was a good amount of space for the City, but they didn’t care.  They perched themselves on the tiny metal balcony and watched people go by. Time to head back to the country…. ( Next post)

Summer bucket list

I might not be the most prolific blogger this week.  I’m working on my summer bucket list.

 

Natural history museum= check

take kids on new light rail = check

picnic across town with old friend in favorite park = check

spend time with Oliver before he leaves for college = check ( and he is gone)

take Viv shopping for back to school clothes = check

Take the kids to the beach = check

 

see my friends who live in greater LA area, but are kind of far out. = 1 0ut of 3 check.  Malibu, yes,  OC, Castaic no.

The last thing on my list is 1) Vivien finishing her summer homework.  It’s so she keeps her academic brain in shape, but truley 70 % I do in the last  2 weeks of the summer. 2) GETTING OUT OF TOWN.  I’m  taking my kids to San Francisco.  I lived there for over 9 years and have some serious good friends there.  My kids are just old enough that a road trip with them doesn’t terrify me and also I think I can do it because I bought  a two screen strapped to the headrest DVD player.  Just used it to Santa  Barbara and with the headphones my life has changed.  If they take out the headphones I go nuts as I don’t think I can listen to “The Cat in the Hat” movie anymore despite my admiration for Mike Meyers.

From SF I am taking them to Yosemite.  The holy grail of spirituality for me.  Growing up we went every year and I was conceived there.  This is the longest I’ve gone without going there in my life.  The last time was the summer of ’08.  Halycon days.  I was pregnant with Rex and the economy hadn’t tanked.  We still thought we had money and had never heard  of Bernie Madoff.  I rented the most expensive cabins for family members, our treat.   The last couple of years between money and Rex being so little I haven’t gone.

little did I know that in a few months my life would be turned upside down

Now, I’m going to the lesser accomodations, but, it’s fine.  I just want to smell the warm pine, I want to feel the cold Merced River around my feet. I want Rex to experience it.  I want my kids to get addicted to it they way I did.  I’m already covered in mosquito bites here, so why not get closer to nature.  I want to walk in the meadow that I walked with my father, looking up at half dome.  Where he told me we owed this park to President Lincoln.  Where my sisters and I floated down intertubes in our river shoes, our mom making hot coco for us at our cabin or tent.

By they way, look how hot my mom is here.  How she could look like that sitting on a rock while staying up in the mountains I have no idea.  I remember my swim suit.  I loved it.

I feel a bit brave doing this without Mark.  I’ve never taken such a an extensive trip with my kids without another adult.  But, I’m tired of being a mommy shut in.  I think we can do it.

The right time would be when we could all go.  But, Mark has to work and my father is never coming back.

The right time to go would be when I could afford several nights in a comfy cabin with a full bath.  But, who knows when that will be.

The right time is right now.  I have to seize the moment. I haven’t been back since my dad died.  I will hear his voice cautioning me not to go to close the falls.  Yelling at me not to order a full entree at the Ahwahnee dining room because it was so expensive  ($12).

I think it’s a shame that the parks are pricing out the middle class.  The nicest hotel there, the Ahwahnee is over $500 a night.  The Curry tents with no bath are $150. Growing up our family would stay one to two weeks.  Not going to happen now.

Next week, we will be back to school.  I will be an assistant AYSO coach.  So, feel the sun!  It’s starting to set. ( slamm door, motor on, burning rubber, see yah)

Out for George Michael

I use to say that I was a gay man trapped in a straight woman’s body. Particularly when I was a single woman living in San Francisco.

Bridge at Dusk #4
Creative Commons License photo credit: Pargon

I liked having sex with men, a few different ones. I collected mid-century furniture, liked vacationing in Palm Springs and my music of choice was deep house. The kind of music that makes you feel like a guy in a gay bar at 1:59 am, doing a popper and not sure who you’re going home with. Thumpa, thumpa, thumpa.

I still workout to house music when I can. And I still have some Heywood Wakefield furniture. But my neutered mom-self has lost touch with a lot of that former FAB! self. That is, until I was a guest this season at the American Idol finale. Sixth row. When George Michael walked out on stage, I screamed like a gal in 1963 for the Beatles, I screamed like you scream for ice cream, I screamed like a college grad at an Obama rally. I was that excited.

I think I’m unmoved by Madonna, or other pop stars. But I love me some George Michael. Which is why I was so excited to see the posting on The Poop from a guy who loves GM, talking about his favorite songs. Well, a CD of Michael just goes from one delicious morsel to the next. But, come on, there can’t be any argument really, right?  Hands down, “Father Figure.”