Posts Tagged ‘friendship’

Zoo Again: The Same but Different

Saturday, April 17th, 2010

In the seven-plus years I lived in San Diego, I never went to the zoo. Single and childless, I considered the zoo a family place. I’ve since made up for lost time. This week alone, we’re on our third visit. Thursday morning, Tim gave a lecture at the Naval Hospital in Balboa Park. After dropping him off, the kids and I drove straight to the zoo. 

The zoo is one of many places I frequent now that I’m a parent. In the almost eight years since we adopted Olivia and Mateo, my stomping grounds are playgrounds, water parks, and bowling alleys. In the past six months alone, I’ve made more visits to zoos than in all the previous years of my life combined.  (more…)



Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

About 20 years ago, when I lived in Los Angeles, I needed to go apartment-hunting. I did what all apartment hunters did in those days, pre-Craigslist and Google and practically all Internet: I picked up a copy of the local newspaper and scanned the real estate listings. Pretty quickly I learned that the real estate business had its own code to describe properties: “cozy” meant “small,” “charming” was “run-down,” and “fixer-upper” meant prepare to spend the next five years of your life doing just that.

My favorite term was “Beverly Hills-adjacent.” A unit described as “adjacent” could be miles from the center of what most of us consider “Beverly Hills,” but as long as it had anything in common with that prestigious location—both were north of Orange County?—the listing would proclaim it. It was a great lesson in how attitude influences perception.

Since becoming a mother, I’m very aware of my attitude, toward every person and every thing. My children are watching me all the time and, metaphorically speaking, taking notes. For example, two Christmases ago, we were driving home to San Francisco from San Diego and the kids saw a sign for Disneyland. “Disneyland, Disneyland!” they screamed. Of course, a trip to Disneyland requires months of planning ahead. It’s not the kind of destination where you can just swerve off the freeway at the Disneyland exit and pop in. (more…)


Egg Hunt

Monday, April 5th, 2010

Easter was overcast and chilly, but that didn’t deter us from attending the annual egg hunt hosted in a local park by our friends Jenn and Ed Pfeiffer. Jenn and Ed hid 1,300 eggs filled with candy and prizes throughout the park. Sixty or so energetic children fanned across the grounds and scooped them up by the basketful while their parents drank hot coffee and tea and chowed down on bagels and cream cheese. The highlight of the event was the search for the glitter-encrusted golden egg, filled with five dollars cash, in quarters. Hiding the golden egg is always Ed’s job, and this year, as usual, he did it well. The kids searched for the prize without success for a half-hour before Ed gathered them around to reveal a clue. “It’s on this side of the park,” he announced, waving his arms toward the south end. The kids ran off again, screaming, but it took another twenty minutes before the treasure was discovered by a teenager, in high grass in a real nest, now abandoned.  (more…)


The Pen Pal

Friday, March 26th, 2010

Olivia has a pen pal. The pen pal is a friend of mine, a woman who lives on the east coast. In the beginning of this school year, Olivia discovered that her best friend, a girl she’d known since kindergarten, wasn’t in her class, and Olivia was struggling socially without her. I told my friend about this, a woman I’ll call “Lisa,” and Lisa said, “How about I become Olivia’s pen pal? It’s not the same as a classmate, but she’d probably love to get mail.” 

Lisa was right. The highlight of Olivia’s week is now getting a letter from Lisa. The letter is never complicated: just news of Lisa’s family and the antics of her dog. “Listen to this,” Olivia said yesterday. “Lisa wrote, ‘My doggy is sitting on my lap. It’s his bedtime so he’s taking a nap before he goes to sleep!!’” Olivia laughs. “Isn’t that crazy, Mom? A nap before bedtime?” I agree that it is.

Olivia wrote back a letter telling Lisa about the hardwood floor being installed in our house: “Already I am concerned about the noise from the sawing. It is shrill and I mean shrill! I have to put on headphones.” She drew a picture of herself wearing headphones, and for good measure, drew a picture of a flower for Lisa’s husband and a leprechaun with a pot of gold for Lisa’s dog. Underneath the pot of gold, she added a caption: “The luck of the Irish even though it is not St. Patrick’s Day.” She sealed the letter and together we walked down the hill to the mailbox and dropped it in.

The loveliest moment of my day. (more…)