I feel very healthy on this vacation. I’m sleeping good at night, waking up early and writing. I’m eating well and getting lots of sun. And I’m spending a ton of quality time with my family, which was of course the point. I just got a glimpse of myself in the mirror. Whoa. My face is a dark shade of red, save the two circles protected by my sunglasses. I’m burned, no doubt about it, but not the stinging scarlet type of burned…a dark, deep (maybe leathery) red. Between Vegas a few weeks ago, the pool at home and now a week on the beach I’ve got a good base that will hopefully not be read for too long and end up just being a nice…dark…tan. I can’t believe I just spent any time whatsoever talking about the suntan ‘base’ on my face.
We’re at Pearl’s house, where we stayed last night. It’s a little north of San Diego, up in the hills. I love this house because the ceilings are like forty feet high. Since Pearl and Dave have little kids, it just made all the sense in the world to stay at their place and grill (vs going out with a gaggle of toddlers). Their house is like a castle for kids with toys everywhere so it was a good option for our girls too. Hey, and maybe it was a good option for us…they had a fridge stocked with beer, marinated tri-tip on the grill and a hot tub that was seemingly gurgling for me from the minute we arrived. Rhonda and Pearl have some other childhood friends in the area so they came over too. We ate red meat, drank red wine and talked about kids for most of the night. And then…we went to sleep.
Rhonda and Ava just woke up. They’re drilling small holes in the seashells that Ava found on the beach and making a necklace.
“This is so I can have a necklace like Ariel,” she told Pearl. “Her and her friend flounder made one just like this.”
Funny enough, Pearl had no idea who Ariel was. Ah whatever…she has boys.
Now Ava is done with hers and on to making one for Lily and another for her cousin Emmy.
After I logged off yesterday I went back to the room and scooped up the girls for our boat ride. The idea seemed to sit with them better than the reality; as we were walking down the rickety dock Ava got a little tentative, finally whispering in my ear that she was a little scared. Lily on the other hand kept ooo’ing and ahhh’ing at the water…the boats…the birds. I swear…that little girl has no fear. They both thought one of those big aqua bikes would have been a good way to truck around the bay, but I was a little concerned that the actual seats were too high off the water. Not that I was worried about them falling or anything, I just thought it would seem scarier way up there. So instead, we rented a plain old paddleboat. Rhonda was getting our things together because we had to check out…but she eventually made it out. We paddled around the bay looking for fish and birds, checking out campsites on the little islands.
“Mommy, we saw a puffin, a seagull and a baby roadrunner!”
Ok the last one threw me for a loop.
“Bird there weren’t any roadrunners out there.”
“You didn’t see it dad. Only me and my sister did.”
Update: I just heard from Rhonda that Ava shared a little secret with her after we got out of the boat.
“Mommy. I know that my dad was splashing the water and making it look like a shark when we were in the boat. He doesn’t know I’m that smart.”
By the time we left the resort grounds it was about 11. Other than a few bites of cold pizza, the girls hadn’t eaten anything so we decided we’d do lunch before going to the beach. Back to Pacific Beach we headed, where we decided to have lunch at Kona’s, a place right on the beach where I used to always eat as a kid…even as a grown-up. Love those breakfast burritos. There was a long line that snaked outside the door so we decided Rhonda would wait and I’d push the girls up and down the boardwalk and find a place to eat.
While the girls and I sat outside waiting for our food, I initiated a game with the girls that we called “I remember.” My purpose was to start searing our experiences into long last memories that would exist in the girls’ heads forever. I figured if I got them to think about these things now, them forgetting all the details and experiences would be less likely.
“I remember…seeing Snow White!”
“I remember…seeing Mickey Mouse!”
“I remember…playing in the waves!”
Pretty soon Lily caught on.
“I remember…I love my daddy and Ava and mommy and my puppies!” Then she burst into tears.
Well she caught on kind of. Poor little baby is so emotional. She has been getting swells of being homesick. I love it. Little Lulu is growing into a sensitive, caring little girl.
After lunch we went back down to the beach which was more or less a repeat of Venice earlier in the week. The beach is a little different down here… mostly in that tons of seaweed and kelp drape the sand here and you’ve really got to watch out for it. Ava and I went into the waves and as long strands of seaweed rubbed against her leg I convinced her it was an eel and sent her running out of the water shrieking. Then Lily came down and the three of us dug miniature rivers and pools into the sand and waited for the tide to wash it all over. For some reason I was tired. When I could finally convince them to move the digging expedition back to where mommy was, I was able to take a little catnap, which is of course how I got so sunburned.
Maybe a half hour later I opened my eyes. There was a stinging in my face and the sun was further out over the ocean; time to go. About the same time three girls walked up and spread out their towels close by. Each of them had a familiar looking cup…from Yogurtland, the place we went the other night where you pay by the pound. How perfect! And it was right around the corner! Yogurtland it was. After yogurt, we jumped into the car and cranked up the air conditioning, heading north towards La Jolla. The girls were asleep in a matter of minutes so we just cruised the coast, getting some coffee and checking out the cliffs on our way up to Pearl’s.
I think we’re going to throw in the towel on Legoland. The kids haven’t even brought it up and we’re about theme parked out for the week. Another day at the beach would be super! Plus, Ramona & George get into San Diego at 11:30 this morning so we’re going to meet up for Vietnamese food in the early afternoon before we head back to LA. Win/win! I was actually really conflicted because I knew the girls would like it. But she also said something on this trip that is really true and that I’ve been trying to remember – they only know what we show them. They don’t have a bunch of preconceived ideas about what we should be doing or where we should be going.
Hey big news yesterday…Michael Jackson died. Apparently he had a massive heart attack, slipped into a coma and then passed away around 3:15pm. The media attention has been incredible; I heard it first via CNN breaking news on my cell phone, every channel is covering various aspects of the story and yesterday when I went into a local drugstore to buy toothpaste, customers were buzzing about it. It’s strange, prior to his death if anyone asked me how I felt about him dying I would have probably stressed how irrelevant he is to me. But I feel a little heavy about it, thinking about his music and the integral part it plays in my childhood memories. For example, the Jackson Victory Tour was the first concert I ever went to. It was at Mile High Stadium and I went with my whole family…mom, dad and sister. There weren’t any other concerts that my entire family went to. Hell, Mile High Stadium isn’t even there anymore. That concert followed the release of his Thriller album and my sister and I were so excited to be there and hear him play the songs we knew. That time coincided with the launching of MTV too, so people were building whole new relationships with music. I estimate him to be around 23 or 24 at that time.
It’s worth mentioning that the death of Michael Jackson follows two other celebrity passings this week – Farrah Fawcett and Ed McMahon. Neither of those is particularly interesting to me though (but I did have ‘the’ Farrah poster on my door when I was growing up). I just thought it was worth mentioning.