Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween y'all. How much difference one year can make. Last year I paraded down Tennyson for trick-or-treat street with Puff the Magic Dragon, a four month old "baby dragon" and my nephew the gnome. As we strolled the busy trendy neighborhood, I could barely go a block without stopping to chat with a fellow Highland mommy our a friend from playgroup, It was an amazing sense of community, and so much fun, for kids and parents alike. That evening we had non-stop trick-or-treators, and we took our own little dragons out for the event, stopping to chat with all of our neighbors along the way. A typical Denver Highland's Halloween.

Skip forward one year. Here we are in North Berkeley and having a significantly different experience. This year brought some rather uninspired costumes, Superman costumes ala Target. Zachary wore a much already-loved (AKA filthy) Superman Costume with built in muscles and Evan wore glamorized (and over sized) Superman pajamas-we called him "Superbaby". We enjoyed trick-or-treating on Solano Avenue, and it was enjoyable, although it felt a bit impersonal, and of course we knew no one. This evening we had only one (yes ONE) sad trick-or-treator. We took our superheros out for some door to door trick or treating and found all but a small handful of homes on our block with their blinds drawn and their front porch dark. We ventured a few blocks away and found a more spirited block, but still it wasn't the same.

Yes, we have had a good day and some solid family time, but the overflowing bowl of Hershey bars, Reese's peanut butter cups, and whoppers is a reminder of how different our lives are today..

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Daddy's new friends

Today as I was pushing the boys up the Berkeley hills in the stroller on our way to preschool, (a real work out if your not accustomed to it) Zack and I had one of our morning chats. Often times these stroller talks consist of garbage truck commentary and predictions of what our next meal will consist of. Today however Zachary wanted to talk about his Daddy. So as I huffed and puffed and struggled to maintain a pace slightly faster than that of a snail's, Zack blurted out "Daddy went out to play with his new Clorox friends last night, right mommy?" I considered this a moment, "Well I suppose that's true Zachary" I concurred. Daddy after all did go to happy hour (somewhat equivalent to "playing"), with his co-workers (potentially "friends" of a sort) last night. It occurred to me that Zachary must suspect that his Father's work is a little bit like his preschool, and that Daddy goes there to enjoy himself and eat lunch and snack with his friends.

As I pondered this further, I started to feel a little bit jealous of the husband. Now granted I do realize he is working, probably even hard, and that it might not always feel that enjoyable. Yet somehow having a life outside of our little house, preschool and our local parks sounds quite appealing after three weeks of living my stay-at-home-with-limited-friendships life. The prospect of a happy hour with no children, no discussion of napping patterns, eating habits or sibling rivalry is attractive at this point. For a four year old, Zack sure comes up with some gems. Yes, daddy did get to go and play last night, granted it was making nice with his co-workers, which ultimately secures the position which puts food on our table and pays for the gymboree classes, but he was out in the world, doing something completely separate from us.

Maybe this makes me sound ungrateful. Trust me I am fully aware that I am lucky to have the luxury of staying home and raising my boys. However there are some mornings when I am scrambling eggs, unloading the dishwasher, pouring more milk, packing up lunch and cleaning up cat puke, when I think about how nice it would be to sit at a desk with a hot latte, review my email and make office small talk. They say the grass is always greener on the other side. Perhaps if I were to land a job I would soon be bemoaning the fact that I don't have enough time with the kids, that the laundry never gets done, and the cost of daycare hardly makes it worth the effort. I'm not sure what the answer is. For now it is my job to stay at home and make the most of really, a lovely situation while daddy goes to play with his new buddies at Clorox.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I have no post tonight, not really. Just playing and I am totally excited that I learned how to post pictures to my blog. Not that it was hard, I just never took the step to click on "help" to learn how to upload my pics. It is easy-piesy as it turns out. Here is the family on the BART. We are pretty cute no? PS-for those interested-yes, I contacted a lawyer. Watch out mama's mad!!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

MasterSTINKS Deli

Okay, so I am angry. We are talking big time pissed off. Masterpiece Deli in Denver is on my list. I would be ever so happy to personally take that business DOWN. For those of you who faithfully follow my blog (Bueller? Bueller? Anyone?), you are aware of the incident at the Masterpiece. The visit to a restaurant that ended with Zack tripping and falling into the side of a broken, jagged refrigerator case giving him a gash that left him with eight stitches in his head on the day of his fourth birthday party. That was several weeks ago. The stitches are gone, but it seems evident that a scar will remain, and the photos of a 4 year old Frankenstein, blood crusted to his forehead, blowing out his birthday candles will be a reminder of the ambulance ride and the tears for years to come.

It was an accident yes, however, would anyone disagree that had the restaurant not left a broken-very sharp piece of laminate exposed that this would have resulted in a bruise and not a trip to the ER? And that perhaps, the owner might possibly wish to take responsibility for their facility and broken equipment? It doesn't seem that far fetched to me. Today I spoke with the owner of Masterpiece Deli about the events of September 26th and I was shocked by the sheer disrespect and lack of empathy that he displayed in response to my call. When I introduced myself to him and explained what had happened he was curt and rude. The very first thing Mr. Big-Time- Deli- Owner said to me was "This should be an interesting conversation. I wasn't there, but I heard about what happened. Your son fell, and hurt himself, and my question is-WHERE WAS THE PARENT?". That was his very first comment to me. There was no-"So how is your son?" or "I am so sorry about that". Nope. "WHERE WAS THE PARENT?" My response: "I was two steps behind him, and he tripped and fell in a crowded restaurant, which could happen to anyone, and unfortunately he fell right into your broken case, and because it was so sharp he required an ambulance ride and eight stitches. If there was no broken sharp edge, we wouldn't be having this conversation."

He asked in an accusatory tone-"So you want money is that it?" I thought "Duh". But come on, what I am asking for is hardly going to put the shop out of business, it is probably only three or four times the cost of our not-so-tasty, over-priced lunch. I had already informed him that we are only looking for some assistance with the deductible on our ambulance ride and our co-pay, which is in the neighborhood of $300. It isn't as though I am demanding reimbursement for pain and suffering, missing out on 1/4 of a pre-paid birthday party at a bounce house place, where our newly injured child received doctors orders not to bounce, or for cosmetic surgery to remove Zack's scar, but his attitude has tempted me pursue such a route.

The owner then ended the conversation by telling me he wouldn't discuss this anymore over the phone, that I needed to first provide receipts and then we could continue a conversation. Of course I anticipated that I would need to provide documentation, and that seemed like a reasonable request, however there was not one ounce of remorse or kindness from this man, and it honestly stirred up so much irritation and anger in me I had to resist the urge to spout out all kinds of silly threats... "I know a lot of people in Denver Mr... the Highland's Mommies can make or break your little business". But I held my tongue, and simply informed him that I would have expected him to show a bit more concern for a customer injured on his property, and that I would be in touch.

It seems like a royal pain in the you-know-what to actually go through with all of this for a mere $300, but now-it's about principle. This man screwed with the wrong mommy.

Monday, October 26, 2009


I am not sure why it annoys me so much, gushing parents bubbling over with pride when they discuss their "gifted" child. Am I insecure or worried about my own child's lack of brilliance? Not particularly. Zack is a wonderful, silly, "spirited" little boy, but I would not describe him as "gifted", and I am okay with that. So why do I feel the intense urge to roll my eyes when I hear someone discuss the difficulties of finding a preschool that will really challenge their little Jimmy who is doing math and speaking french at 3 and a half? I suppose that really may be an issue for them. Jimmy may be bored in a preschool with all that singing and silly art work.

Today I read a post on the Berkeley Parent's Network that irked me. It was a parent describing their truly gifted four year old. Apparently this child is reading at a third grade level, composing complex text messages and doing basic multiplication. No- I am not exaggerating. This parent wanted advice on how to find the right kindergarten program for their baby genius, but wasn't sure what to do since miracle boy was more advanced than most third graders she knew. I had to wonder-was she herself exaggerating a little? Complex text messages? My child could barely use the phone to call 911 if he needed to. I think he believes that screaming 911 at the receiver would do the trick. Well if all of this is true then her child surely is "gifted", but do we have to use that word?

Zachary as I mentioned would likely not qualify as gifted, but does that mean then by default, he is without gifts? Of course not! He is to me the most amazing gift ever. He is my son, and he has amazing "gifts" or qualities. Maybe we should call the wiz kids something like "advanced", or "accelerated", or "with parents who have the insane ability to bring up how smart their babies are at every possible opportunity".

Ahh well, it's a pet peeve, and perhaps a little healthy venting on a Monday night.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Let's Eat In.

I didn't want to become that parent. I wanted to rise above it, I wanted to remain a hipster whose kids really wouldn't cramp my style. I'm not the sit at home kind of gal, I'm a social butterfly, a person who gets out to where the action is. I have always taken my kids out to restaurants. Granted I know our limits, we don't haul the monkeys to white table cloth and candle light venues, but we like to enjoy good meals at family friendly restaurants. Parents have to get out to you know, and we all have to eat.

Well it's happened. I think I am calling a temporary hiatus on eating out with the kids, anywhere other than McDonald's that is-and since we don't typically "do" fast food, I guess that means meals at home from now on. My parents are in town this weekend, and today we had two unsuccessful/disastrous meals out with the kids that really sealed the deal.

We had lunch at Saul's, the Jewish deli not far from our home. It was a late lunch, so I suppose I was pushing my luck to begin with. Zack had already had his noon time meal at preschool, and it was 1:30. I knew I could keep my eldest child happy with a giant Black & White cookie, and I was right, he was an angel eating away at his treat that was bigger than my head the entire meal. It was Evan who presented the problems. I thought I had a great action plan. As soon as we sat down I placed an order for a child's milk and a fruit cup, so that he would have something to snack on while we waited for the main event. The waiter dutifully brought out his milk right away, a glass (yes the type that breaks) filled to the rim with milk and no lid to speak of. Not the best option for a 16 month old, but then it was probably my fault to arrive unprepared sans sippy cup. The milk presented an ongoing challenge throughout the meal, as Evan grabbed for his drink and continually spilled it down his front, on the table and the floor. The fruit was barely a distraction, after a few bites,Evan began to attempt his favorite stunt- High Chair Standing (a variation of grocery cart surfing-another favorite). From the standing position he then ventured to crawling on the table top. After about five minutes of this, I had enough. I decided to take my dare devil outside to run free until our meals arrived at the table. We ran outside happily on the sidewalk for several minutes until lunch was served.

Evan had zero interest in his grill cheese sandwich, and it went completely untouched. I shoved my chicken salad down in mouthfuls, not even tasting the food, just wishing the meal to be finished, and planning our escape. As we were awaiting the bill Evan gave a grand finale, taking a paper cup of cream soda and throwing it to the floor as my Aunt Beryl let out a yelp. The other diners turned to look, some amused and some visibly disgusted. I left before the check arrived, leaving my parent's to pick up the bill.

Tonight we went to a famously kid-friendly pub for dinner. The place has a play area, and there were really no diners who arrived without children. Even so, I did not enjoy my meal. Evan put on a similar show, I ate my sandwich in gulps, and scooped up the kids leaving before the rest of our party. What a waste of money.

Honestly, it's just not worth it. It has become aggravating, embarrassing and exhausting. As much as I hate to throw in the towel and give up one my favorite past-times, I think it will ultimately be easier on us, and the waiters & waitresses of the world will be eternally grateful if we simply stay home.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Today I found the most amazing toy store along Solano Avenue. It is a cramped little place stuffed with new and old toys. Half the store has the new stuff-the trendy Melissa & Doug toys, all brightly colored, no batteries required, wooden treasures, the plush animals, the top-of-line soft-sided lunch boxes and the cutest tea sets. But better than anything they have several shelves with bins of 1970's era play things. My toys. Mostly Fischer Price. They have the Little People Barn, The House, The Garage. They had the chatter phone, the plastic train set. They had toys I did not remember until I saw them once more in all their plastic glory. I had to have them. For some reason My Toys, seem so much better than the ones that fill the aisles of Target today. All the noisy battery-operated gadgets my sons play with. My Toys required imagination, My Toys were cuter, My Toys were simply more fun. Or whatever. In any case I had an urge to posses these Fischer Price wonders once again.

These toys must be in high demand. The Little People House with the yellow roof, which I remember so vividly ran $300. $300! So apparently I am not the only one overcome with nostalgia when presented with the toys of my youth. So rather than springing for the big ticket items, I opted for a Ziploc bag containing two little people with of their "toys" a blue airplane, a green and white horse on yellow wheels, a blue car with a white steering wheel that moves up and down and a bright red choo-choo. And then I saw the fire truck, and the memory was so very vivid. Red plastic with a yellow retractable latter. The fire man in white and black. It was crazy. Seeing that fire truck, it felt like it was just yesterday I was five years old and zooming it around my bedroom floor. Building a city with wooden blocks, and driving my little people in and out of it in their various automobiles. As I grew a little older my sister and I would play with those toys for hours and hours. Touching it, I felt almost transformed to my preschool self, and I think I love that toy as much today as I did then, perhaps more.

I bought those toys for my children, but have an urge to keep them tucked away in my dresser for myself. For what? So I can take them out and play with them when nobody is looking? Well that is just silly. So I let Zachary play with them, and he regarded him with as much interest as he does any of his toys, with an initial burst of enthusiasm which will soon give way to general ambivalence. I look around his crowded playroom and wonder which if any of this toys will he remember? What memories will he treasure 30 years from now? Perhaps he will remember our walk along Solano today, buying pumpkins on a cool fall autumn afternoon, and stopping in a toy store where his mommy bought him special toys, and took him home to play.

Sunday, October 18, 2009


I am tired. Exhausted. Burnt out. Ready for a vacation. This being new is exciting but it is so much work. All the exploring, the shopping, the figuring out, the small talk with strangers. I want comfortable tonight. I want to wrap myself up in an easy conversation with an old friend in my old routine. Last night I was bursting with energy and the surprise of really enjoying this new city, however now that the weekend has run its course I feel a bit deflated. The weekend was fine, good even, but it left me feeling spent, and tired at the thought of all the work yet to be done, and wishing for something easy and familiar. I feel as though everything I do requires so much thought, and so much hopefulness. Hoping that a visit to the park will result in a new-found friend, that a new coffee shop will become "my spot", my comfortable place that feels like home.

Tonight I'll crawl into bed and close my eyes, and remember home. Feel my drafty bedroom in our old Victorian, and envision the route I walked to Gallup Cafe with the boys so often. I'll think of I-70 headed west to the mountains, and the heat of the sun beating down at 5280. For a brief moment I'll be there in Denver, things will be as they were before, and I can breath easily. My mini vacation, I better get to it. Good night. Sweet dreams.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Shabbat Shalom

I am feeling a little disjointed and disoriented today. I am not sure what to post about. Perhaps the beautiful weekend we are having, complete with sunny weather, a lovely lunch at the lively "cheese board" in the gourmet ghetto (which had a great crowd and a live jazz band) , and a walk on the pier at the Berkeley Marina. Or maybe I could write about Zack's new preschool at the Jewish Community Center, where we celebrated Zack's first Shabbat on Friday. Zack enjoyed the experience so much he told his father that evening "Today is a special day, it is Shabbat, we celebrated it at Preschool. Do you want to do Shabbat tomorrow?" Or I could fill you in on the cowboy hat wearing, hippy mother of one of Zachary's new classmates who came on way too strong, wanting to create a weekly childcare swap right out of the gate. (Trying to find the heart to tell her no, I am embracing the stay-at-home bit for the time being and the last thing I want to do is open a part -time in home daycare in my home for her benefit.)

Things are happening very quickly. I feel a bit like I am riding a crashing wave, I am in the rising up right now, in the honeymoon sort of stage, the place is exciting and full of wonderful things to do. I feel almost euphoric as I explore the area with Evan and Zack, and I am actually enjoying the freedom and the anonymity of knowing almost no one. I am just bracing for the crash, and worrying that I'll feel a crushing sense of loneliness and loss as the months grow colder, and everything looses it's novelty. For now though, I want to embrace the fact that I am happy, and starting a brand new life. A blank slate.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Urban Girl

When I created my blogger profile I described myself as an "urban girl". I have to laugh. Perhaps any true city mouse would. As it turns out Denver, even downtown Denver experiences do not seem that relevant to true big-city living. Now perhaps Oakland/Berkeley does not compare with NYC, but it sure does make Denver seem a little small potatoes. I am continually surprised by my urban encounters here.

Case in point-it is a Saturday morning, I am just going to run to Target for a few essentials and the grocery store for some dinner-I'll be back in an hour.... or three. You see, the Target parking lot presented a few hurdles. Those challenges included way to many cars for the relativly small parking lot and a glutany of aggressive, crabby drivers. I drove around, and around and around again. After about twenty minutes I found a spot that took me about a dozen maneuvers to squeeze into. Once inside the store, I had to negotiate my cart and Zachary through a sea of anxious shoppers. Berkeley sports the first two story/elevator equipped Target I have ever visited. It doesn't seem to have any better products or bargains than my quiet Denver equivalent, where I could zip in and out without any hassle in a matter of minutes.

Next on to the Berkeley Bowl. Now I do have to say there is no such a culinary phenomena in any place I have lived thus far. In past postings I have already proclaimed the glory of their produce selection, but there is more to the Bowl.... yes an amazing selection of overpriced cheese, tasty gourmet prepared foods, and freshly baked breads and pastries. Total ecstasy for anyone who enjoys eating. The place is PACKED. I have Zack in the grocery cart and I seem to be playing bumper carts with every other shopper in the building. I get reprimanded by another shopper when Zack reaches into the free sample cheese bowl with his bare hands-"there are toothpicks" he hissed. Yes, yes, I realize there is a swine flu epidemic in this country, but he is four, and you should never, ever eat those samples if you are a germa-phobe anyway! At the checkout counter the cashier only half jokes that if I want to continue shopping at "The Bowl", I should remember to have my organic produce weighed at one of the "weigh stations" before cashing out. "Huh?" I ask. I guess I missed that. I inform him that I am new to Berkeley. "Huh." he responds. "Well just remember for next time, we don't like it when people forget." Alrighty then. So yes, the cashier was a wee bit gruff and rude, and the place was a bit of a nightmare, but I will continue to deposit my husband's paycheck there all the same-it is just too amazing to pass up.

So that whole Saturday outing which I expected to take about an hour was much more lengthy and complicated than I had anticipated. I have come to realize that now that I am living in a much larger urban area, everything takes longer and requires more planning. There is more hassle, and people run faster. No, it isn't New York, but I see now that a city of that caliber would simply eat me alive.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Getting Settled.

Yes, we survived, and we are in fact living in our new home. Most of the boxes have been cleared and we are functioning in our home, cluttered with the random remains of opened boxes (so that's where my hello kitty tooth brush has been hiding!). I am focusing mostly on the aesthetics at this point, where to hang this or that, and trying to be productive every day.

Today I checked out a preschool for Zachary, the first one. It was ugly. Just gross, and at a bargain too-around $900/month. The place was shabby, run down, and totally chaotic. Kids running everywhere, the noise was overwhelming. The director was not at all articulate, tongue tied and unable to answer basic questions. I just didn't get it. Who would actually fork over nearly a grand a month for this dirty excuse for a childcare facility?? Hoping I will have better luck tomorrow when I visit the Jewish Community Center to tour their preschool. It has to be better than today's disaster.

We have in fact ventured out of our emerging home for other outings as well. We have toured the nearby shopping areas, and I am thrilled to report that we have trendy, wonderful strips within a mile of our house. Sushi, deli, bagels, Thai, Indian, bakeries, cheese shops, spas, salons, book stores, we got it, and I love that. We have visited the local park and had a run in with a rowdy four year old who pushed Zack to the ground and called him a bad name-something to do with an asteroid, but I couldn't quite follow his reasoning. I have discovered the amazing grocery stores that the bay area has to offer and I have been shocked by the bounty of fresh produce, really? purple carrots and bell peppers? brocolinni? Thai basil? You can't find that in Denver.

Yet I am starting to feel a little lost. The husband started his job today, and after the initial house set up, I will have little to keep me occupied. Sure there will be the day to day activities of keeping the boys happy and the house in order, but I can only do some much housekeeping and park runs before I go out of my mind. Honestly, it doesn't appear to be nearly as easy to connect with other families here in Berkeley. In Denver, all I needed to do was post a message to the Highland's Mommies message board "looking for a playgroup" or "does anyone know of any fun activities going on this weekend?" and I would get instant response. There does not seem to be such a network here-and I have already had a million and one recommendations for the Berkeley Parents Network which quite honestly hasn't done much for me thus far.

The husband just informed me that it is getting on to 11:00. Past mama's bedtime. Better get myself to night-night.

PS-Looking forward to the worst the bay area has to offer in weather-we are anticipating a HUGE a-seasonal storm. Yes folks, the Kargas family has arrived....

Friday, October 9, 2009

Welcome to California.

Hello Berkeley!! The Kargas family has arrived! Whats that??? Nobody gives a damn? Huh?

Our next door neighbors rolled out the welcome mat by adorning our car with a neatly written note "please do not park your car in front of our house and taking up our entire parking area. Thank you". Well nice to meet you too! Hey neighbors-did you happen to notice the enormous moving van that was parked in front of our house for 24 hours? Perhaps that would provide a hint to the reasoning behind our misguided parking. Maybe you saw the Colorado license plates-that would clue you in to the fact that we are brand-spanking new to California and would appreciate a wee-bit of kindness. Nah, it appears you are not so intuitive, or at least you seem to lack in the area of compassion. So that is how it's going to be. Well friends, I am proud to confirm that I did restrain myself from neatly writing a note and posting it on said neighbor's door proclaiming "so sorry for the inconvenience, we are looking forward to getting to know you, even if you do lack the common decency to knock on our door and introduce yourself before leaving nasty notes."

Ahhh... welcome to Cali baby.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

On The Road (Again)

Still on the road. We are staying at a low -end motel in Lake Tahoe. David is at a bar down the street with Zack, watching his beloved Twins. I am here in our dingy digs with Evan, drinking cheap wine in a plastic cup, Evan whimpering non-stop.

Tomorrow we will do some touring of Tahoe, and then will drive the final leg to Berkeley. The moving vans will arrive Thursday morning.

So far the trip has been fine. I have certainly identified that I am not truck driver material. While pieces of the journey have been beautiful, others (like the eerie drive through the salt flats of Utah) have felt rather monotonous. In order to keep myself interested, and avoid "drowsy driving" which could surely turn disastrous, I have succumbed to ingesting tons of toddler treats. We are talking gold fish crackers, teddy grams, granola bars, you name it-I have consumed it, I have no doubt the scale will reflect such when I find the courage to face it.

Today we had a leisurely drive from Elko Nevada to Lake Tahoe, California, stopping for a brief visit in Reno. The Reno experience comes on the heels of a Vegas vacation, and the contrast has been stunning. Vegas, all glitter, glam and excess, and downtown Reno-a crumbling, sad mess. We found the city to be rather depressing. The downtown area was lined with casinos, some of them left vacant, cheesy souvenir stores, and not much else. I felt as though we had walked into a ghost town, a few years before it was totally abandoned. Pre-children perhaps I could have seen the city in a different light, enjoyed the nostalgia of it, indulged in a few cocktails and gambled away the afternoon, however visiting with the kids made me weary. I wanted to cover Zachary's eyes as we passed a window display of coffee mugs resembling bare breasts, I wanted to cover his ears as we passed a bunch of heavily tattooed, pierced and filthy teenagers shouting profanity at one another and I wanted to scoop up Evan and hold him tight when a pathetic homeless man explained to me that children were (cover your own ears) "shit factories".

We left Reno after 45 minutes or so, and headed to Lake Tahoe, a stunning mountain resort. It is spectacular here, and I look forward to a morning hike with the family. Then on to our final destination, Berkeley, where we will spend the night on air mattresses in our empty new home. Thursday morning the movers will come and unleash total chaos as they unload 3000 square feet of belongings which I will need to squeeze into our 1500 sq feet house. It will be time to face the music, what seemed so far off in the future is now reality.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

On The Road

We are gathered in a cheapo motel in Vernal Utah outside of Dinosaur National Monument. We have survived Day One of Operation Moving to California. We got a later start than we had anticipated as we tried to complete all the random last minute relocation duties, including the near impossible task of capturing and containing Flanders. We rolled out of town at about 10:30, after I alone shed quite a few tears as I took a last look at our now empty home. It is funny how awful a house can look when it is stripped bare of all of it's furnishings. The baseboards and walls were filthy, and the floor covered with horrifying dust bunnies. But even naked, the house felt warm with memories.

The ride through Northwestern Colorado was incredibly beautiful. The fall colors spotting the mountains reminded me just why we moved to Colorado in the first place. We stopped at a dingy little diner for lunch, one of those spots that surely was missed by the department of health, and boasts "family favorites" like frito lay casserole (no I am not kidding). The meal took too long to arrive at the table, and we were in melt down city, when the kids meatball sandwich finally arrived at the table. After an unappetizing meal we hit the road again. The boys did great. Evan slept or quietly babbled in his car seat (is he really Zack's brother?) and Zachary was in a near zombie state, mesmerized by his new dvd's (Madagascar and Dora). I passed the time with my "Going to California" play list on the Ipod.

The rain started in the late afternoon, and by the time we arrived in Vernal we realized it was too rainy and too late for a hike at Dinosaur. So we opted for dinner at a fine Vernal establishment, one that offered an interesting wine list "chardonnay or merlot", and baked potatoes after 5. And now here we are at 8:20, all in the same room. David is reading the boys "fox and the hound", and I am wondering if we should even bother trying to put the little monkeys to bed before we turn in, and if I really want to shut the lights out at 8:30....

Tomorrow we are off to the Fab Salt Lake City and the Mormon Tabernacle. It doesn't get any better than this.

Friday, October 2, 2009


It is one of those amazing autumn days in Colorado. It is brisk but sunny, cool breeze dancing around and the undeniable feeling that change is eminent. When we first moved to Denver fall was such a pleasant and welcomed surprise. As a born and raised Midwesterner, I was accustomed to a brief autumn that boasted spectacular color but gave way to a brutal winter. For most of my life fall meant impending doom, months and months of subzero temperatures, with snow that would fall soft and white but would turn to icy, black patches capturing all the urban pollutants. My body would tense as the leaves changed color, and I would shed tears as I packed away the summer flip flops and tshirts.

Over the years fall has become my very favorite time of year in Colorado. The temperature is perfect and I no longer have to anticipate a miserable winter. I have in fact come to welcome the change in seasons. Winter in the Mile High provides gentle, and some times fierce snowfalls, that melt quickly and usually provide very little inconvenience. One day your making a snowman, and drinking hot cocoa, the next taking a stroll in your jean jacket and enjoying ice tea.

So many people tell me how great the California weather is, but to be honest I think I am going to miss the climate here. Somehow it is hard to imagine a Christmas where there is zero percent chance it will be white.

So I am sitting here on my front porch as I write this, enjoying the sunshine and and the beauty of an October afternoon in Colorado. The moving van is directly in front of me. Our movers are toiling away inside packing up our belongs, tearing everything down. It's impossible not to get teary eyed and sentimental. Today I am here, in my most favorite spot on earth, and in two days I will be heading off to a new life and a change much greater than the passing of a season.