Sunday, July 27, 2008

Lucky Seven
Theron's birthday was on a Friday this year and we went to Ventura. We thought Ventura's good, maybe hit the beach, stay in a hotel, the whole Birdyhead family loves to stay in a hotel. It should only take an hour. We left at 1:20 and got there around 3:40. Ashley took advantage of the down time by getting our phone service switched over. In the meantime, after about an hour of stop and go, mostly stop, traffic, Theron was getting sicker and sicker. I finally pulled over in Tarzana so that I could look at him and talk about what was specifically wrong because his little voice was fading. The poor little guy had stripped down to just his shorts, he had black circles under his eyes, and his stomach was heaving in and out. He looked like Elliot when he and ET were sick. He told me he was going to die now and he needed to be somewhere inside where it's cool, not in an air conditioned car.
I found an AM/PM Minimart and made him put on some flip flops to come inside. I told him to get anything and everything he wanted. He perked up after a blue raspberry Icee, Hulk-out flavored Air Heads, and Cool Ranch Doritos. I gave him a plastic bag just in case he needed to throw up blue and green. It would have been slightly ironic because the day he was born, seven years prior, I ate a blue ice thing and I threw it up. Actually I remember the midwife calling to ask how I was doing and Ashley told her I was throwing up in the bathtub.
ANYWAY, maybe he was just car sick. He seemed much better after that.
Then we got to Ventura and poor Grandpa had an equally bad trip. We were already exhausted but we were there to celebrate, so off we went to Golf N Stuff. That's Grandpa and Theron in the bumper boats. That was my favorite part. We played tons of games. In one corner they had the old originals like Pacman and Tetris and Galaga. They're probably the exact same machines we played on in the 80's. I was sad Star Castle wasn't there but that was really only fun to play with Beth and Joan. It was the only way to win: one person shoots, one person steers and one person drives. All three people scream. I played Centipede and I was doing really well and then my wrist starting going numb. Carpal tunnel!!! They need to retrofit the old games with ergonomic wrist pads. Dad and Theron played lots of shooting games and made a great team. Ash and I played a round of golf but we didn't keep score. Theron played a skee ball game called Scat Cat and knocked down TWO cats AND got the ball to bounce back. It was a once in a lifetime move.
Then we went back to the room to open presents.
Grandpa Flip and Grandma Rita got him these beautiful Harry Potter wands that are special made to be the exact proportions as the ones described in the books and they have such a nice weight to them you could believe they would really work. Below is Voldemort's wand. He also got Dumbledore's Elder wand.

The Dark Knight admires himself.
Then it was off to dinner. Theron got his favorite food - a plain cheese pizza with pineapple. Here he is declaring that he will sacrifice himself to eat the pizza, no matter how hot. He's wearing his new Ben 10 shirt that he says he is going to wear everyday until it is brown.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Changes and Farewells

Ashley takes another load of boxes over to the new place every day and spends his evenings planning the space. He likes it so much he hates to leave. When you look out the front windows you see the beautiful foothills. We've been going slowly because we can but we're actually really eager to just get this over with, so we'll be stepping it up. In the meantime we can reflect on what we will miss about our little Echo Park neighborhood. Let's see. Would it be:

The dog poop on the sidewalk, blocking the path?

The lack of parking and the increase of cars, all fighting for a spot? How about our neighbors who have four cars they spend all their time moving around?

The parking lot d.j. parties that go on until the wee hours of the night at the complex two doors down?

The roosters that don't just crow at dawn?

Or would it be the dogs on either side of us that treat our yard like their playground? How about the time one of them came through the fence, ripped our pool mattress to bits, and damaged our kiddy pool? When Ashley went to talk to the neighbor about it he suggested it was either a stray cat or the dog on the other side of us. I suppose it could have been Rosco since he is always back there knocking over flower pots, but he only stands about 10" tall and I don't picture him wading through about 16" of water, punching tiny holes in the vinyl liner with his sharp little toenails.

I know, how about the plucked remains of pigeons all over the back yard left by the stray cats with the weepy eyes who use our raised bed - well, our whole yard really - as a litter box.

Lockdown - we'll miss lockdown of our block, where we live, and twice Theron's school. Fortunately the first time the school was in lockdown (until 9 o'clock that night!) Theron was already off campus. The second time he and I ran and just made it out of the gate. Otherwise the cops close down the street, no one is allowed in or out, and the helicopters circle and circle.

Memories... Well, here's what we will miss: walking 4 blocks to the library. Theron and I would go twice a week.
Lotus Festival where there are fireworks two nights in a row and we could see them from Theron's room or we would just walk 3 blocks down there with beach chairs then walk home. Echo Park itself is very beautiful.
I'll miss being so close to downtown, Little Toyko, Chinatown.
I'll miss being 5 minutes away from Mike. We'll miss the newly renovated public pool, 4 blocks away.
Ash and Theron will miss the donut shop with their fabulous apple fritters.
There's probably more, it hasn't been all bad. Oh, I know, we'll miss our landlord who hasn't raised the rent in 4 years. He has been very kind and any unhappiness here has nothing to do with him. Every year he would leave Christmas presents and every month he cleaned up the yard.
Living here put us closer to Lumbini where Theron has had his most productive years ever. But we're ready for this positive change.

In the meantime, Theron is in a summer day camp through the Echo Park Rec Center and it's such a great deal. For one low price they go to the beach once a week, the public pool twice a week, and every Wednesday is a field trip. Today they went to Medieval Times to eat turkey legs and watch knights joust. We gave him some spending money and he bought himself a smoothie and a telescoping lance. It still tickles me that he can buy stuff all by himself. Not to say it's all perfect, Theron is still Theron and there is sometimes trouble, but we're dealing with it. He lost some privileges the other day and he was mad, but then he said to me, "Oh, well, it's okay. I have a long life to live".

Birdyhead had its first non-friend, non-family member comment last post!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Naomi is about to leave us for a new job so she spent the day teaching us the proper way to stuff mocassins. From left to right: Sage, Cecilia, Me, Naomi, and Peg looking for the grain of the polyfilla. Ozge was taking the picture. Naomi was such a good teacher we actually got a lot of work done . Ozge was the star, she finished a pair of sandals and a hat. Sage's first attempt had an Idaho potato look so he added some embellishments to distract from the craftsmanship.

There's usually nothing a pair of jiggly eyes won't fix.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

We're Moving!

I used an exclamation point which makes it look happy, but in my heart, though I'm happy, I'm also making that Macaulay Culkin/Edvard Munch scream. Air conditioning - happy scream. 50% more rent - tortured scream. Parking - happy scream. At least 40 extra miles a day between us with gas at almost $5 a gallon - Aaarrrgghhh!!! Blue ribbon public schools - coming down off the ledge...

I don't like that at 41 I still have so many doubts about what is the right thing to do. There are so many reasons why this is a good thing, not the least of which is getting Theron out of the school here that rates 4 out of 10 and is currently on probation. Who's to say he will fair any better at a 10 out 10 school, but we have to find out. On one hand I dread that we are paying so much more money and still don't own anything, but on the other hand I remind myself that if we had bought a house when we got here we would have bought it in this neighborhood and we would have been stuck. I guess change is just hard and we don't really do it very often so it's irrational fear. Everything's great. It'll be great. It's for the right reasons. I'll have a dishwasher for the first time in my life. Yippee!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

And so it begins

I was eating pizza and I felt a piece of a filling come out. A new-ish filling. And I was so mad because these things aren't cheap and I was eating soft food, for goodness sake! So I indignantly made an appointment with my super nice dentist. My dentist is a really nice person and I think he does great work - I would know, I'm in there enough. I always feel kind of bad because I don't know how he does it but he always seems genuinely happy to see you and I'm sitting there in a lead apron so when he says "How are you?" with sincerity I don't know what to say. I'm normally there to give him one whole paycheck. Anyway, he had a look today and told me that the filling was fine, the thing that fell out was part of my tooth. Ha Ha! So now I need a crown. He was expecting this as the tooth had a big crack he was monitoring. So, kids, just because it's fun to use your teeth to crunch up ice and jawbreakers, or to tear things open, don't do it. It catches up with you. I loved my first crown because it was virtually the only all-white tooth in my head and though $1000 seemed excessive at least it's forever, right? Then I learned that even in the best of circumstances you can chew through a $1000 crown in about 20 years. And that is the lesson of the day. Take care of your teeth.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Fourth of July Weekend
Santa Monica - Theron and Ash in the center We think this is a German tourist taking a picture of her German tourist friends having California fun. That's Theron on the right. There were young people out promoting a new show called Burn Notice. We got a free Burn Notice frisbee, a towel, and some sunscreen, but we really wanted the umbrella!
Front yard fun with "fireworks" from the supermarket.
At 9 we went down to Echo Park to watch the amateur displays. It was smoky.