march 2014 wrap-up

The magnolia tree started getting better, and with it, my moods.

magnolia tree looking better new leaves

Bikes, bikes, bikes.

my bike hardcore bike rack

We found a new (to us) crepe place nearby.

breakfast at crepes de paris breakfast date crepes de paris patio

We had dinner on our little balcony for the first time this year.

first-of-the-year dinner on the patio eating mussels

I finished working on this corner of our living room.

at night night day

We took the kids to Six Flags. (It wasn't so great. I must be getting old. The kids had fun, though.)

asha & yumi with sylvester roller coasters go-cart racing

Imo and I had brunch at Fiore on my birthday. I turned 37.

flowers fiore tables fiore flowers


sonoma, film

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I finally got around to finishing and processing the roll of film that had taken residence in my Nikon FE for the past ten months. These photos were taken at Larson Family Winery when we visited Sonoma with the kids last summer (a post about that trip is here).

As a side note, Costco film processing and scanning is amazingly cheap and decent. It cost me less than $5 (including tax) and everything's ready in 1.5 hours! This makes me want to shoot more film, except that I am a very, very stingy film shooter these days and I'm afraid that the next roll/s of film will suffer the same fate as this last one.


a list for their future reference

One of the many challenges of having older kids is that they never want to do anything that's not their own idea -- from the simple every day tasks of brushing their teeth, taking a shower, doing homework, going to bed, to the exciting (you would think) stuff like visiting new places and going on road trips. Is it just us? Anybody else out there with KJ kids? I don't know what it is, maybe I am being dense and they've grown tired of our company or outgrown our ideas of fun, but pretty much everything involves a struggle these days where there was none when they were younger. Opposition has become the default first reaction. I don't remember protesting any family activity so violently while I was growing up. Except for church (and that was completely justified). But no matter, Imo and I refuse to be bullied by saucy, killjoy behavior. And we endure the sulking, the complaints, the death glares (at best), all in the name of family time and -- as this thought-provoking article in The Atlantic puts it -- "concerted cultivation." These are our "gifts of experience" to them, we like to tell ourselves. Someday they will remember these fondly and thank us, we like to tell ourselves.

So here I am now, putting together a list, for my children's future reference, of The Very Cool Places That Mommy And Daddy Took You Guys To But You Were Real Brats About It At The Time: November 2013 to February 2014.

1. The Exploratorium in San Francisco

where you saw spinning monkeys,
spinning monkeys

experienced stop motion photography,
nacho & water drop

observed beetles eating a dead rat,
decomposing rat!

touched a "makahiya" plant for the first time,
or "tickle me" plant
(I was so excited to show this to the kids because my childhood! Even though the plant in the museum was absurdly nicknamed "tickle-me." Duh. The makahiya doesn't want you to tickle it; it wants you to leave it alone!)

stepped inside a camera obscura,
inside the camera obscura

and walked on the Fogbridge.
fog bridge

2. Alcatraz

You got to ride a ferry,
opposites nacho & window

learn some history,
sign from the indian occupation of alcatraz

hear chilling stories narrated by former inmates and guards of what it was like in the prison,
entering the cut-offsolitary confinement cell

be reminded of your privilege,
regulation 5 mugsregulation 21 mugs
(I wanted to get these mugs for Nacho and Asha, respectively. The black one says, "Regulation 5: You are entitled to food, clothing, shelter, and medical attention. Anything else you get is a privilege." [Such as playing Minecraft on the computer and getting an iPhone.] The white one says, "Regulation 21: You are required to work at whatever you are told to do." [Such as tidying your desk and putting away your clean clothes.])

see San Francisco from The Rock,

and go back to San Francisco.
heading back to the city

3. Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena

You got to see, up close and personal, the works of great artists such as Van Gogh,
yumi & van goghs

yumi & modigliani

Diego Rivera,
yumi & diego rivera

Picasso, meeting picasso again

whereas Mommy could only admire them in books, even as she was teaching art appreciation to high school kids in St. Scho.

4. Natural History Museum of Los Angeles

You saw life-sized dioramas,
cape buffalo and friends musk ox

and taxidermy,

dinosaur fossils,

dinosaur poop fossils,
fossilized poop

dinosaur skulls as big as you guys were,
with dinosaur skulls

ice age fossils,
age of mammals exhibits

prehistoric human skulls;
prehistoric human skulls

you got to touch real coyote pelt,
coyote pelt

and traveled the silk road.
camels in the silk road exhibit

5. Cold Spring Tavern

We had lunch in a 150-year-old tavern. 150 years old! Built 10 years after the California Gold Rush, as a stagecoach stop, for travelers to rest and have a meal in. It was like traveling back in time.
tavern front inside the tavern lunch

6. Ostrich Land

All three of you whined on the way here. But stopped as we set foot inside, because fresh emu eggs
fresh emu eggs

and so many ostriches (and also emus),
a wobble of ostriches

which you got to feed out of these dustpan/dish contraptions.
2 ostriches and more eating

These big birds reminded you of dinosaurs, whose fossils you saw in that other cool place Mommy and Daddy brought you to. (See #4.)
like dinosaurs

7. Downtown Solvang

Imagine being able to drive to Denmark from Los Angeles.
on the sidewalk solvang horse-drawn trolley

You got to try aebleskiver,

Danish chocolates,

and locally made ice cream, while checking out shop windows.
eating ice creams

You learned what a surrey was and, in a moment of clarity and non-KJ-ness (there is hope!), you thought that maybe you would like to try riding one next time.
a surrey