Posts Tagged ‘slowing down’

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…)



Wednesday, April 14th, 2010

No visit to San Diego is complete without a trip to the Zoo and yesterday we made the pilgrimage. April happens to be the month when many baby animals are born. The ones most fascinating to Olivia and Mateo were the wild boar babies who played a nonstop game of chase, and the baby ducks, who behaved just like the characters in Make Way for Ducklings and followed their mother over to the food court to scavenge for dropped potato chips and bits of muffin.

The kids could spend the entire day riding the Skyfari Aerial Tram between the Polar Bear Plunge and the Elephant Odyssey, but our agreement is that we have to get out and walk, too. We saw tigers and monkeys, cheetahs and orangutans. As usual, we stopped by the panda bears. Not much action beyond napping pandas, but it’s always nice to check in. Last year, we saw a panda stand up, turn around, and lie back down in the other direction. Afterwards, I told the kids they may have just witnessed the most panda activity they will see in their lifetime. (The most in my lifetime, anyway.)  (more…)


Working Man

Thursday, April 8th, 2010

Mateo’s preschool is on spring break this week—Olivia’s is off next week—so he and I have been hanging out. It’s nice for us to spend time alone together for a change.

 We’re starting some delayed maintenance on our house and are in the “gathering estimates” stage. Several contractors have come over to measure floors and ceilings and thump on things with hammers, and watching them in action has been a dream-come-true for Mateo. After the last contractor left yesterday, Mateo gathered up a fistful of screwdrivers to investigate how the front door works. The door worked fine, so my son decided he would attempt to scale the side gate instead.

After I rescued him from impaling himself, Mateo went to work on the metal grates on the driveway next to the garage. We recycle rainwater through the grates, by channeling it under the garage and out to the garden in the backyard. With his trusty hammer and screwdrivers, Mateo pried open the grates to clean out the leaves and sticks that get stuck and clog them up. My pink kitchen gloves were the first ones he found. 

Tomorrow, we wash the car.



Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

When I had the idea to rip out the 20-year-old ratty carpet downstairs and replace it with hardwood floors, I forgot that someone—read: me—would need to pack into boxes every single item and carry them upstairs. The problem is that the downstairs has become our house’s de facto floor-sized closet, the black hole into which I throw everything I lack the heart to throw out. By which I mean every sheet of paper on which my children have inscribed a pencil mark, every tempera paint hand print, every shaky capital letter “M” for Mateo, the note from Olivia that states: “I lov yu no maddr whut” or the one over my desk: “Yur the best momy ever.” The packing job is taking days.

I am a woman who owns three pairs of blue jeans and two pairs of sneakers. My makeup routine consists of a swipe of L’oreal lipstick I buy at CVS. Except for my books and Guatemalan handicrafts, I collect nothing.  But give me a face drawn with marker on a paper plate, a paper towel drenched with watercolor, or a Valentine’s card like the one Mateo gave me (inscribed, mysteriously, with “we love carrots”), and I figure there’s always another plastic storage container to be bought, another box to be scavenged from Safeway. Somewhere, I’ll make space. (more…)


Slowing Down

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

I didn’t take my laptop along to Guatemala, knowing that with Olivia along and so much to see and do, I likely wouldn’t have much time to write. This was true. In Guatemala, we walked everywhere, or, if the distance was too great, hailed a tuk-tuk, a small, three-wheeled vehicle that will never break any land-speed records. At breakfast, we lingered over coffee and fresh orange juice. When a hammock looked inviting, we hopped in. The pace was necessarily slower; nothing was instant. Even taking a drink of water required a trip to a local tienda to buy it bottled.

In Panajachel, we stayed in a hotel that offered guests a single computer, one that sometimes got Internet access and sometimes didn’t. On the few occasions I was lucky enough to log on, other travelers loitered behind me, shuffling their feet as they checked their watches.  I felt too guilty to type for more than ten minutes. I was in Guatemala. It didn’t make sense to rush.  

In my life here and now, I’m aware, it’s naive and probably impossible to ignore the instant nature of just about everything.  But after this last trip, I’m going to do my best to try.