Sunday, July 27, 2008

Kids Eye View

Little J and are fortunate to take a trip to Stinson Beach this weekend. Stinson is a place that is kind of hit or miss weatherwise and we were lucky to be greeted by warm sunshine and a gentle breeze, perfect high seventies beach weather. Little J enjoyed the surf and built sandcastles and tunnels. We had delicious servings of Fish and Chips for me and and Chicken Strips and Chips for Little J, complete with live jazz at the Parkside Cafe.

On the way home this morning we stopped off in Mill Valley at Mama's Royal Cafe to listen to Caroline at the piano. It's kind of a funky place that I have written about before. Little J was getting a bit anxious about getting home so I turned him loose with my camera. Got an interesting assortment of 30 or so pictures: this one intrigues Little J the most. He seems to think it has something to do with Sponge Bob but Little J's biggest question is... who gets to sit upside down and eat off the ceiling?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Demolishing the Worst Year

At 13 I thought it was the worst year of my life when my family moved from the comfort of a small Michigan town to Birmingham. It was traumatic enough to have this happen mid-year of 8th grade but arriving with the curse of multiple chicken pox scars nearly scarred me for the rest of my life. I endured the cruel and blatant remarks of pubescent teenage boys. I survived chorus tryouts in front of 30 new-to-me classmates and being sent down to the music study room since I couldn't carry a tune. I hid behind the navy shorts and white gym shirt, humiliated as the last to be chosen for any team. I learned that if I told the gym teacher that it was "that time of the month" that I could skip swim class and leave the ugly black tank suit hanging in the locker room... that is until Mom got a note from the school expressing concern over the frequency of these periods. I escaped the clasps of the class bully when she taunted me the day I wore my badgeless green girl scout uniform to school. I had one friend but as much as we were best friends, due to some kind of misunderstanding, we became worst enemies and I'll probably never know why (are you still around Mary? - maybe I owe you an apology? Fill me in please).

Anyway, I missed the chance to drive by the old school when I was in Michigan last week. According to the Detroit Free Press, "It's all over for Birmingham's old Barnum School... City Commission voted 6-1 to knock down all of the original 1912 schoolhouse..." OK, maybe that's sad. I wish I could have been there to throw the first rock. Oops, sorry. But somehow the mental image of that first wrecking ball smashing all those bad memories to smithereens rings bittersweet.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Paper Journals

My relationship to journals has always be kind of an on again/off again process from the small five year locking diary during the teen years to computer driven entries of the present. Last week when I journeyed to Michigan, I didn't take my computer. It just didn't seem worth the trouble to lug it around 3 airplane hops each direction especially with my Treo that works fine for email and blogging purposes while traveling. I figured I wouldn't have a lot of time to write memoirs on this trip anyway.

The second day into the trip, giving into a bit of nostalgia, I got that old yearning to keep a travel log. I found these "Write it Down" journals in the museum store in Frankenmuth. Thinking I would write, but not wanting to feel compelled to writing a "book" about this trip, I purchased a mini blank journal. It is a good size (3" x 5 1/2") to carry around for quick notes but got to be a bit of a wrist breaker when my first entry exceeded 20 pages of very fine print between the 3/16" lines. I do appreciate quality of the journal with it's substantial cardboard cover and smooth pages. I managed to fill up 3/4 of the pages during the week and plan to finish it up with perhaps a "Bucket List" of things to do next time I'm in the area as well as thoughts that keep popping in my head that I just know I forgot to write down.

And now, since I have gotten into the habit of "writing" instead of typing, I just had to order another full sized one. When I went online to the Journals Unlimited website, I discovered that it is a Michigan company. I think I have seen the journals in stores around here but somehow purchasing this one little journal in Michigan, not far from where it originated, makes it that much more special.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Old Neighborhoods

I had a chance to explore the old neighborhood where I spent my high school years. Was interesting to find our house with a for sale sign in front of it. Since I was just dying of curiosity I did the natural thing and put in a call to Sue, the realtor, to find out the asking price. Judging from the pictures on the flyer and also looking at the exterior, it seemed like it was pretty much as it was when we lived there, except for the new front door. When Sue called back she was curious as to why someone from California would be interested in a Michigan residence; her thoughts that it would be a bit of a backwards kind of deal. Anyway $175K was the original asking price. Current listing is $159K. I told her I'd offer nothing more than the $18K that Dad paid for the place in 1964. Sue told me she needed to take another call.

I considered if this might be an interesting move to make. Then we turned the corner and saw the Salvation Army and check cashing place next to the spot where we used to catch the school bus. Then I heard about the shooting that happened just down the street the previous weekend. I remember when Dad finished off the basement, paneling the walls with doors that he bargained for on the lumber lot, fixing it up as a place to escape the heat in the summer and burrow into in the winter. (At least he didn't do the ceiling in egg cartons like the previous residence). Could be a good safe hibernating place. Naw, I think I'll pass.

Enlightened Explorations

While Grandma was out exploring Mackinac Island, Grandpa and Little J had their own expedition. Somewhere in the lower Sierras they found an old railroad tunnel. I knew they were off to this adventure and suggested they might want to take along my old digital camera but since Grandpa would never have figured out how to charge the thing, he ended up purchasing one of those old fashioned disposable film type cameras. They brought back an interesting assortment of photos. This one has a special glow about it. Grandpa thinks it's the most artistic photo he has ever taken. Maybe it is. He was so proud of this accomplishment that he had it blown up into a shiny 8 X 10. I'm surprised I didn't find it poster sized hanging above the fireplace.
Little J was impressed by the abandoned tunnel but not so impressed as he was by the Circus Circus Casino arcade in Reno. He came home with his most prized possession, a Lava Lamp. Say what? Did someone clean out their abandoned '60s warehouse? And it cost Grandpa how many quarters?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Where Am I

I may have died and gone to heaven. Somewhere in Time I just knew I'd come here again but I never imagined that I would really be here sitting in the rocker on the longest ever porch overlooking the beautiful straits on a wonderfully sun filled day. Oops got to go. My horse drawn carriage has arrived.

Monday, July 07, 2008

There really is...

...a tooth fairy. Little J received this in the mail today, further proof that the tooth fairy exists. The amazing thing about it is that she (he?) bestows these rewards via snail mail, understandable considering the cost of gas these days. Grandma is a bit curious about the 500% inflation rate over what was physically left under Little J's pillow a couple nights ago. Little J understands this generosity only comes with the first tooth, promises to patiently wait for the rest of the teeth fall out as nature intended, and thanks the REAL Tooth Fairy for remembering him.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Wannabe Rosie

Yesterday 15 red hatters visited the Rosie the Riveter exhibit in Richmond.

It was especially exciting since one of our own red hatters happened to be a "real Rosie". And then there was me... just pretending to be a 2 handed Rosie...

Happy 4th of July

After a week of Little J's, "when's my cousin coming?", it finally happened. The cousins had a playful afternoon on the 4th. Someone forgot to tell Little J to wear his red, white and blue.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Tooth Fairy Reminder

We should have known better. The tooth was hanging by a thread but we were in denial. Little J is only 5. Five year olds don't lose their baby teeth. A couple days ago Little was brushing his teeth and suddenly he screamed out bloody murder, came running out of the bathroom, blood dripping down his PJ top. Our first reaction was that he fell off his little tiger bench and hit the sink top. Once he calmed down we realized he was missing the tooth. Gone. Poof. No where to be seen. We checked the sink. The floor. And everything in between. No tooth.

Now that shouldn't have been much of a catastrophe considering that two days before, Little J ascertained that there is no such thing as a tooth fairy and his plan was to throw the thing away when it came out. After a bit of persuasion, with a monetary influence, he finally figured out it could be quite a lucrative event to "sell" all 20 baby teeth. And so there came a new agenda.

It turned out to be quite a struggle to get Little J settled down for bed with no tooth to put under his pillow. I assured him that the tooth fairy was probably aware of the incident and would make good her reputation. Here's the problem: Grandma went to bed and forgot all about it.

When Little J awoke to find no money, he informed Grandma that he was right after all. Fortunately Grandma didn't have to think much to come up with the appropriate response, "Well JJ I think you must stay in your own bed all night or the tooth fairy can't find you."
The problem didn't stop there: Grandma stayed out late last night and forgot the tooth fairy duty once again. And, wouldn't you know it, Little J slept in his own bed all night. Grandma might as well have stayed out all night. After some discussion at the dinner table, we came to the conclusion that since there was no actual tooth to be found, it might be a good idea to write a note to the tooth fairy. Little J agreed that was a good idea.

The problem didn't stop there: Little J is tucked in bed. He forgot to write the note. Grandma forgot to remind him. So what now... do I put the money under the pillow anyway? By the way, how much is a tooth worth these days? (The smile is priceless)