Friday, February 21, 2003

Max can count! "Mom, you've already been to the bathroom three times."

I shared a joke with the boys the other day:

Two muffins are in an oven. The first muffin says, "Geeze it's hot in here!"
The second muffin turned and said, "Whoa!! A talking muffin!"
Then Max grabbed my sleeve and begged, "Is that true? Can we eat the muffins?"

When William was two he found a bag of cookies in the kitchen. He asked for cookies and I explained he'd have to eat breakfast first and then after lunch he could have some cookies. "So, what would you like for breakfast?" I asked. "Lunch," was his prompt reply.

Now I am panicked, because I can't recall an "Alex Said" anecdote. He did give us "A-lola" for Aloha. When he was learning to swim he had a tendency to sink rapidly, but when we brought him back to the surface he would be furious. Still gagging on pool water, he'd admonish his rescuer, "I can do it myself," cough, choke, sputter. "I was doing it!"

Now William is prompting me to share more memories. When he was three and Geoff and I were at the hospital for Alex, aunt Holly came to take care of William. Evidently her cooking reputation preceded her. When she offered to serve William some macaroni and cheese, he asked "Are you going to cook?" "Yes." "Wait a minute," he said as he ran to his bedroom. He returned to the kitchen wearing his firefighter's helmet and holding a fire extinguisher,"Okay, ready."

Thursday, February 20, 2003

February is a short month; this is something I have repeated several times of late. Evidently I believed it. Yesterday I thought that today was the last Thursday of the month, and thus very, very nearly the end of the entire month. But it is not. February is in fact a little longer than I imagined. I am in no hurry. The length of February, short or long, is not nearly as astonishing as the fact that the year is 2003. Frankly I am still feeling somehow cheated by the whole Y2K letdown. Perhaps I should attempt to make contact with that family we knew, the ones who left for the mountains spouting doom and hoarding ammunition.

Isn't February the ideal month to point out that time and dates, years and calendars are in fact more arbitrary than not? Only 28 days in the month of February and then every four years we play catch up, because we have not been giving equal calendar time to all the hours of the year. It is a trip around the sun and like all good trips it comes in longer than expected; longer than can be calculated in whole numbers. People are in awe of whole numbers. Y2K was all about being awestruck by a great, big, large whole number and assigning it powers that have no relation or logical association with our trip around the sun.

Also, in February we have groundhog day. Now we can assign the passage of seasons and time to a ground dwelling mammal. This holiday completely got by me this year and I missed the whole scene. Did the little guy see his shadow? Are we facing six more weeks of winter? Isn't winter over once we recognize the spring equinox?

Half a world away, and at Panda Express, it is a new year. It is the year of the ram (or sheep, depending on who's take out menu you believe.) Ever since February 1st, I have had a longing to eat a very good Chinese meal, or to go to a Dim Sum restaurant and sample from hundreds of beautiful little delicacies. I'd like to have crisp egg rolls with a hint of ginger and a slightly spicy sweet and sour sauce to dip them in. I would like to be served sizzling rice soup, and stir fry with cashew or almonds. Hot tea, and soft lighting in a comfortable room with deep booths and pupu platters grilled right at the table. Ever since the first day of this supposedly short month I have waited to have such an experience, and as it occurs to me that the month is not nearly over I am relieved to realize that it may not be too late to fulfill this desire. Dates and details may be arbitrary, but good Chinese food definitely is not.

Tuesday, February 18, 2003

The Crazy Rubber Duck Puzzlers

Max, Lily and Alex took time out from sightseeing to figure out this duck puzzle. 4 ducks going in different directions on 9 separate cards, and they need to be matched up in a 3x3 square! Got that? Max and Alex love puzzling, and now we know that Lily does too.

Eventually we convinced them to pack it up, so they could try again at the restaurant. Once we were settled in our favorite mountain eatery, Lily could really go at it and solve the mystery of the ducks. We were all impressed.

Lily was visiting all the way from the chilly north, Minnesota. Even though we are finally experiencing what amounts to winter weather, Lily probably thought it was more like early summer. We did our best to squeeze an entire summer's worth of sightseeing and vacationing in to one long weekend. Her dad (aka Grampa Phil) was glad to hear her drop her request for a horse; it seems she'll settle for some chickens! Lily will be missed by the chicas. She led them around the yard, digging up worms for them to slurp and gulp.

We tried to give Rosie a good general Southern California overview, since this was her first visit here. Coast, mountains, mercado, historic, and lots of eating! Also, Lily revitalized the Beanie Baby quest. We had a great weekend. Even as I catalog some of what we did, they are with Rich visiting the museums and park, then they'll be joined by Geoff and Holly for lunch, before their flight home this afternoon. I am guessing they'll have no problem catching an in-flight nap. It's fun sharing our neck of the woods with family and good friends and reminding ourselves of the beautiful places we can visit and enjoy.