Friday, May 30, 2014


I think it was more than 15 families that went on the family camping trip this year with my kids' school. It was great, even better than last year. It's basically a giant playground for the kids to live in and picnic in for a few days and they don't have to go home when it is time for a nap. Watching so many kids play and laugh for a few days straight is rejuvenating.

Enzo found a banana slug and showed his friend.

Ana, camping or at home, prefers to dress herself almost always. And, she likes layers. Tutu, and Hello Kitty skirt, and jeans? She pulls it off.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Easter and Parks

Part of being on vacation (it was an April break) is going to parks that we don't go to very often. This one is in Campbell and has a water feature and sand.

We decorated eggs for Easter.

Nathan had a birthday. As a surprise to him, Laurie invited Tami and I to ride in a limo with them up to a very nice French restaurant in San Francisco called Fleur de Lys. The food was delicious as were the wine parings. The portions were small but not small enough to stop me from feeling incredibly full after the numerous courses.

After, we took the limo up to the Coit Tower to enjoy the view of the city at night before heading home. That was a good time.

Easter morning and the kids went through the baskets that Tami prepared for them.

Ana, Enzo, and Shea had made these egg shells with dirt and seeds a few days before Easter. Ana and Enzo kept them watered. This was all Phyllis' doing as she planed these and got the ingredients all together. The grass grew in as hair in time for Easter and the kids, and me, enjoyed watching the hair grow in. A cool idea.

The kids got new toys from Grandma and Grandpa.

And played and made a mess of the paper grass decorations in the Easter baskets. It was a good morning.

Later, the kids did an Easter egg hunt and family came over for dinner. I didn't take pictures but I always like having family and friends over. It feels good to share days with people I care about and to know that my kids are surrounded by good people.

I scratched up the glass over the camera lens on my cell phone so all of my phone pics are now fuzzy. I am trying to wait for a new iPhone to come out. We shall see how long I can hold out. The camera is the most utilized function of my cell phone. The above is a picture of Ana doing what she does. That is, climb everything. Another significant fact about this is that it occurred on a play date. The first play date that I personally, all by myself without Tami, arranged. It was oddly a nervous experience. I felt like I was asking someone out and I was 16. It was so silly!  Would I be rejected? Am I supposed to get a phone number? Do I just ask to meet at a park? Do I need to break the ice first or engage in idle chit chat? Do I initiate a play date the first time I speak to this parent or am I supposed to develop some sort of relationship first?
Parenting is so funny. Anyway, there was a matchmaker so it worked out pretty well. One of the teachers at the kids' school mentioned that a play date with a certain girl in their class would be a good idea when I picked Ana and Enzo up from school one day. Before I got the kids all ready to go that same day, the mother of the other girl came in. I started wrestling with the above questions when the teacher mentioned something casually about a play date to the mother and so I jumped in and started talking. Next thing I know I'm looking sly like the cool parent that I am, giving my business card and walking out with her digits and a plan for a date..... a play date, some time in the future. Yep, I still got it!

Ha! Anyway, after a couple of emails we worked it out to meet at a nearby park to picnic and play. The kids had a great time, we adults had a nice conversation, and I accomplished yet another of the available parent experiences common to my culture.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Paint and Water

Does my Ducati look a little more special? Yes it does. I bought this bike because it is beautiful. Really, especially in person. A beautiful piece of rolling Italian art. And, because it was the bike I wanted so badly when it was new and I was a high school student. Part of the dream look included that little cover that you see over the passenger seat in the above picture. It was a dealer option at the time and part of how I wanted my bike to look. My Ducati, when I purchased it, did not have that piece. It's pretty rare and comes up for sale rarely and for a dear price on the internet. But, with patience, I found one at a reasonable price when it popped up on eBay and I got it! It was the wrong color, a metallic black that was very rare and, I believe, only made for one year. So, I got this cool little passenger seat cover piece that is supposed to be body color and I was excited. I checked the internet and found that the Rust-Oleum brand gloss red auto spray can matches Ducati red very well. Then, I red up on how to spray with a can to make the result look professional. I figured, why not? If I mess it up, I'm no worse off and will get it done professionally. Then I figured I may as well repaint the mirrors as they were pretty scuffed up. What you see here are the results. I am pretty happy with how it all came out. Not at all perfect but now I know what I am doing and what I read on line all makes more sense now. I know how to fix them to be perfect and how to do it better next time. This time, however, I am decided not to fix them. Not now, anyway. They look good for the most part and the rest of the paint is 22 years old so having the mirrors and seat cowl be perfect is not at all necessary to make them look like a match.  Anyway, it is one of the great pleasures in life to study how and then to do something new. This type of experience is among my favorite types in life. The results and memory become their own trophy.

Crazy kids. This is not behavior that I condone, even if it is cute and amusing and they are giggling like the children that they are. Sometimes I like to take them to a Japanese restaurant by my house and they always seem to have a good time. Usually with the chopsticks and the miso soup and the food but on occasion, with a tackle.

The sun has been out. And I have two pair of sunglasses in my car. Recently, Ana asked if she could use one pair and then Enzo asked if he could use the other. They look pretty cool to me.

One day, while Tami worked, me and the kids went to Vasona and Shea and Nicole met us. We made quite an event out of it.
We rode our scooters all over the place and rode the train, too.

Then we went on a paddle boat! I love boats. They are like mobile bridges on the surface of the water. Bridges and boats..... awesome things. So, we went on a boat in Vasona. I don't think I have been on one of these since I was a kid though I have been to the park so very many times over the years. Cool. And peddling these things is actual work. So, good thing the kids think it is fun. We all took turns, even Ana and Enzo, as peddlers and steerers, and observing passengers.

As if that wasn't enough, after the boat ride we crossed the bridge and played in the playground for a very long time. When it was time to go, we decided we would all meet at a Starbucks. This was because it was getting late and I was still craving a cup of coffee never found all morning or day. And, because I knew the kids needed to get moving soon and to take a nap so I bribed them to leave and get a chocolate milk. So, Shea and Nicole rode off and me and the kids scooted back to the car. After we got in the car, I didn't even get out of the parking lot before they were both asleep. Shea and Nicole were on bike and foot and beat us there. We chatted while the kids slept. When it was time to go I drove home the slowest way possible to let them sleep. Almost home, they woke up and wanted to know where their Starbucks chocolate milk was. How did they remember that as the first important thing when they woke up? So, I pulled into a Starbucks next to an OSH. They got the chocolate milk and then we walked around the hardware store...

And went home with these various hardware store items that we made into a fountain! It was a cool project. I had wanted to build a fountain for a while. The kids were happy to help me pick out times as they drank their chocolate and then just as happy to help me cut the bamboo, set up the pump, and glue and place the objects in the tub. This was made in early April and we are still going outside and turning on the fountain a couple of times each week. We purposely made it to have three different sounds of water splashing. That was inspired by Japanese gardens. Eventually, Tami bought a few feeder fish and placed them in the fountain. To my surprise, they are still doing well in there weeks after the fact though the fountain has no filter or temperature control. The plant is doing great and, as simple as it is, I really enjoy watching the water and listening to the splashes. The kids really enjoy not listening to adults and sneakily playing with the splashing water when ever they think they can get away with it, it seems. So, we are all getting something out of the fountain and that's what's important I guess. You know, for a family fountain.