That is just so strange to contemplate. They have really short summer breaks here, it seems to me. School didn’t let out until late June. How can summer vacation be less than two months?
Meanwhile, we’ve had such a busy summer that I’m looking forward to some post-Labor Day mellow time. It’s been a happy busy, though. Showing our Virginia pals around town last week, we felt like seasoned San Diegans. Except I can’t be that seasoned when I’m not sure of the correct term for a resident of San Diego. San Diegans? Sandy Eggs? Hmm.
I have a fun (more fun!) plan in mind for this coming year, but it was inspired by Alice and I don’t want to write about it until she has posted on the topic first. It’s going to be delightful, though, and the kids are excited…It will happen on Tuesdays, and if you know San Diego at all that gives you a hint.
And in another totally-lifted-from-Alice plan, Jane and I are starting a Shakespeare Club. We’ve assembled a small group of ten-to-twelve-year-olds and will meet weekly, or every-other-weekly, to read a play together and perhaps perform some scenes. I am really looking forward to this. It hit me with a huge shock about a year ago that my Juliet days have passed me by. In my college Shakespeare class, I wrote three papers on Romeo & Juliet, and I think I did two Juliet scenes in drama classes that same year. I always knew my Capulet day would come…but I guess I got busy. It’s okay, though, because now when I read plays with my kids I get to do all kinds of characters. I have passed the ingenue torch to my daughters. Lady MacBeth, here I come.
(Actually, I haven’t decided what play we’ll read first, but it isn’t likely to being MacBeth. Jane and I have done Julius Caesar, Midsummer Nights’ Dream, and As You Like It together. We might revisit Midsummer Night’s with the club because it worked so well for Alice’s group, and because it’s such a fun play for kids, but I need to talk to the other families first. Maybe Twelfth Night? The Tempest? Winter’s Tale? I’ll have to think about it. Scott, who thinks outside the box, is plugging Two Gentlemen of Verona.)
So I know I’ve been quiet here lately. First we had company of the very nicest sort (about which, more later), and then the kids and I took a jaunt up the California coast to rendezvous with Alice and her family. You should harass Alice for more pictures. I loaded her memory card onto my computer and it is ridiculous how many adorable shots she snapped. Like this:
Whereas my shots always come out like this:
The car part of the trip was a lot harder this time around, but I blame L.A. On the northbound trip we crept in bumper-to-bumper traffic from San Diego to thirty miles north of Santa Barbara. (Later, Rose reported to Alice: "We sang 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall all the way to the end!" Alice, to me, deadpan: "Oh, honey, you WERE desperate!")
The return trip on Sunday afternoon was much brisker, hardly any slowdowns, but spirits were low after our tearful parting from the Gunthers, and the back-seat contingent sought to relieve their feelings with bickering of the most crazy-making sort. After a while I began to feel like Nurse Ratched in a mobile version of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. In an impulsive move even more desperate than the launching of 99 Bottles of Beer, I pulled over at a Toys R Us close to the highway and bought Rose and Beanie each a Tamagotchi. Because, you know, incessant electronic bleating is so much nicer to listen to than sweet childish voices raised in song. I told you the bickering was crazy-making!
(Best Tamagotchi moment so far: yesterday I was cooing over the then-and-now baby pictures Alice posted, marveling over how much Rilla and her pal have grown. Beanie heard me and mournfully agreed. "I know just how you feel, Mommy. I miss my Tamagotchi baby so much!"
Me: "What do you mean? You just got it!"
Beanie: "No, Mommy, it’s a toddler now! It hasn’t been a baby for HOURS!")
While the 600-mile round trip proved more sanity-challenging than last October’s 2800-mile travelpalooza, the two-nights-and-a-day sandwiched in the middle were blissful. Except, you know, for when Wonderboy wouldn’t stop shrieking because someone had turned off one bedside lamp and left the other one on. And because he was alarmed by the pull-out sofabed. And because the baby was playing in the closet. And because Beanie was holding the remote control. Poor, poor kid. Poor, poor lodgers in the rooms on either side of us. At one point I realized with a jolt that we had become those people. You know, the ones whose overpowering noise makes everyone else in a hotel gnash their teeth.
But downstairs in Alice’s rooms, delight reined. Our girls picked up right where they left off, right down to the Snoopy songs and the homemade comics. Beanie and Patrick tested every possible surface for bounceability. ("What are you shooting out of your wrists, Beanie?" "Vines, of course! I am Vinesnapper, you know!") Maureen mothered the babies (and Wonderboy too, when he would let her) in the most adorable manner. I got to see all of Alice’s San Francisco photos, which alone would have been worth the trip. Beautiful stuff she’s got, and she already knows the city’s history and architecture through and through. Amazing.
I shall enter this closet to make my brother scream!
(This is a cute picture, so Alice must have taken it.)
Ooh, it all went too fast. I feel like Beanie, mourning the all-too-brief infancy of her Tamagotchi. I wonder when—and where—our next rendezvous will be?