Hold me I’m frightened…

Rex started kindergarten.  I was surprised by my reaction.  Felt fine.  Till we crossed the threshold of the campus that was filled the chaos and crowds of Kuala Lumpur right before the Japanese approached. Then I wanted to cry.  Sob.  My tough boy was gripping my hand as I said my hellos.  I kept indicating without words how I felt so as not to upset Rex. ( Finger from corner of eye down, tear).

on the way to school.  Support from his sister

on the way to school. Support from his sister

At one point a nice mom spoke to me about something unrelated.  I nodded politely, but she might as well have had burning hair on her head as I couldn’t make out what she said.  “I’m in CRISIS right now”  I thought.

The last few days he had been saying “I want to stay in pre school.”  I can’t say the truth.  I do too. You are right.  It’s all down hill from here.  Until you get your drivers license and feel someone up sexually.

Happily They only have half days for the start.  So I took him out to celebrate.  Sweets, natch.  cupcakes

I was squeezing the last bit of summer I could out of this truncated season.  I do not believe it is right that children begin school before Congress is back in session. Totally messed up.  So, now that Labor day is no longer sacred we traveled till the 11th hour.  We spent the last 10 days glamping it through California.  A family reunion with American and Dutch family was like a dream commune existence, but with continental breakfast.  Kids jumped out of bed to safely play with extended cousins while we slept in and leisurely made some coffee before we hiked, swam, drank beer.

a few of us who discovered some vineyards

a few of us who discovered some vineyards

" eat this, my dad's a chef

” eat this, my dad’s a chef

in case Mark and I lost each other, we had name tags.

in case Mark and I lost each other, we had name tags.

 

Off to my family’s annual pilgrimage to Yosemite.  I love it so.

Rex finds his own perch

Rex finds his own perch

That $600 in swim lessons paid off.  First summer with out a float vest.

always somewhere to climb

always somewhere to climb

Side bar,  one interesting thing I noticed in Yosemite this year.. no, not low water, brown grass and over priced bland food, I expected that, but there were so many foreigners.  I don’t mean to sound Archie Bunker, and I know it’s  a world wide destination, but there were more Europeans there than any year I can remember.  I offered to take photos for so many German tourists I was afraid the French and British visitors would brand me as a collaborator.  Later when we were at the Lodge in the valley a French woman was complaining to the hostess at the Mountain Room Broiler ( they call it grill, but whatever it was called in 1978 is what I call it) Oh, I’m from Culver City and I know it’s not great.  If you were from France, oy!  I had to interject.  “It’s not good, no where around here is going to be good.”  The hostess smiled, while French lady looked unbelieving.  I found her husband outside, “I just talked to your wife.  Tell her we all know the food is not very good in the park.” Blank face.  I should have just offered to take their picture.

Rex loves the cafeteria there.  He calls it the “Room with all the food.”  Me:” the cafeteria?”  ie, that dump?  “Yes, mommy I love it!”

We played in the river.  We saw deer. deer in yosemiteyosemite with kids

Rex ran naked through the fields and woods. I brought my wine, so it was all good to me. I got no cell reception–yippiee!  That’s living.

One day we went to the pioneer village and watched a Blacksmith work. kids and blacksmitth I have rarely seen my kids so fascinated and focused on the 3 dimensional world.  I didn’t prattle on about my love of Laura Ingalls Wilder, just in my inner voice.stagecoachWhen I take the winding road in or out of Yosemite I marvel at the people of yore who came there on horseback and coach.  10 minutes in a stage coach and I needed a kidney transplant.  How did they do it?  When we left I offered to take my kids to the Mariposa Grove to see the big redwoods.  Rex has been talking about big trees for two years since we went through a deep forest near the Oregon border.  “NO”  They screamed.  They were worn out.

45 minutes later.  “You guys let’s say we get lunch in Fresno and go back to school shopping.”  The back seat cheered.  I cheered to be in a smaller scale city with a Macy’s I could practically park in front of the door, everything was on sale and they called me ma’m.  Big city living can be tasking, nice to be in  a medium market.

So, we are the brink of day 2 of Kinder.  “How was it Rex?”

“Horrible and sort of awesome.”  I told Mark that Rex said he is afraid of not having friends.  Mark looked up, ” I’m still worried about that.”  I think that’s why it does choke me up.  We all feel uneasy going into a new space, new people, but as we age we learn to shove the feelings down, or mask them.  But, we know our little ones are still open, vulnerable.  Will he be ok?  Probably.  But, it’s also the beginning of me not being able to fix things in his life.  The separating.  My heart breaks a little. Wish we could get back on the road where I feel somewhat in control.

 

Family Road Trip

Okay, so here is magnum opus on my last hurrah of summer.  To some driving around in a mini van for two weeks with two small children might be hellish.  I was in heaven.  Did they listen when I tried to tell them the importance behind Bob Dylan’s “Shelter from the storm”?  No, but we bonded in other ways.  Most of it we did as three for the road, but Mark joined us 8 days in.

Being a mom of two littles is easier for me on the open road.  We aren’t chained to our screens.  Away from stressors.  That’s why they call it vacation.  Mountain of laundry

bracing for the chain gang

back to school is almost here!!

Crap, where is Vivien’s water bottle?

Our trip was a success.  The kids and I raised our game and did better than we would at home. This is how I hide my dirty clothes, muffin top and general filth that occurs after 6 days of travel.  This was our last day visiting the great hall at the Awhanhee hotel.

They were cool with couch surfing through San Francisco and friends opened their

My friend Eleanor even had hand me down toys waiting for them!

homes to us aplenty.

Yosemite area was great.  We ( hopefully) dodged the deadly mice poo and they loved being in nature.   We spent one night at the Evergreen lodge ( loved), and one at Yosemite Lodge.  Room was okay, great to be by the river, but the cafeteria breakfast, blech, awful from bad lighting to the no seasoned eggs.  Glad my husband wasn’t there for that.  Thankfully, Uncle Mark and cousin Lily were there for much needed pillow fight. 

We met up with my sister Cecily’s family there for Cec’s bday.  Once Aunt Cec arrived I Rex discarded me like yesterday’s newspapers.  He was a great traveller and poor guy got car sick on the way home.  Yes, his new car seat was washed pronto.  Yes, he did partially vomit on my face.

They did finally say, “are we ever going to stay in one place more than one night?”  No, sorry, we gotta keep moving.

The laundry is large and I had to get the car detailed when I got home, but it was worth it.  Now, I’m planning lunches, labeling things and looking forward to a blow out tomorrow after drop off because there are twigs in my hair.

I hope they are twigs.

 

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)

Vacation Rehab

I was so excited there was water on our vacation at Yosemite this year, because for many years our butts have scraped gravel while we tried to raft.

I pushed the stroller and carried Vivien up to Bridalveil Fall so she could take in the wonder of the huge, beautiful, glorious falls. See how excited she is? Yeah, that was worth the effort.

Vivien in Yosemite

When I called my sister Cecily on Sunday and she said, “I am so tired.”

“Thank God,” I said, “I thought it was just me.” I came back from my whirlwind, blended-family vacation in Yosemite and Mammoth on Friday the 4th, yet still felt pooped and hit the ground running with work Monday. Also, a National Park vacation means days of laundry upon return. I also had my assisted-living-bound dad over which takes some energy… and clean up.

What’s the vacation people come back refreshed from?

But it all went great. There were 11 of us: sisters, step-children and more. Hiking, biking… and we weren’t camping, we stayed in cottages. I CAN’T camp anymore, I’m too old. (God, then I’d really be tired.)

More favorable than the waterfall, later that day I asked Vivien, “How do you like your hot dog?” Here’s her response.

Vivien gives the hot dog a thumbs-up