Burning Man or Bust

Our prep work has begun for Burning Man 2010! Yesterday Ian cracked open our Burning Man totes for the first time in several years. This dusty job starts with an inventory of what’s in there, what still works, what needs repairing or replacing, and so on. There’s lots of dust. Lots of list-making. And lots of “Oh wow! I forgot about this!”—not surprising, considering we haven’t been to the playa since Asher was but a bump in my belly (2006).

Eat Your Heart Out, Elton John!

Asher especially enjoyed the old rainbow umbrella and the wacky glasses Ian pulled out of the totes. Alas, dear Internet, I cannot show you the rest of his “outfit.”

While I have some trepidation about taking my littlest boy out to the desert for a week of experiential silliness and irrepressible elements, I’m starting to get the inkling that he’s going to have a rad time. Outrageous flamboyance  in his genes.

New Fibers for Handwork

Ian and spent just about an hour in Placerville last weekend, on our way to South Lake Tahoe for a short getaway. Mom had said, “Why don’t you get out of town for a while?” Why not, indeed!

Since we didn’t have the boys in tow, I dragged Ian to Lofty Lou’s, where I pawed at the yarn and came home with these gems. He’s such a good sport!

Gorgeous Fiber from Lofty Lou's in Placerville

This is a four-ounce ball of Firestar, a sparkly nylon fiber that can be carded with wool or silk or other fibers and either spun or needle-felted. Pretty!

Hand-dyed Wool Roving for Felting

And this is a lovely hank of hand-painted wool in an array of autumn browns, golds, and russet reds that I’m hoping will inspire some lovely autumnal artwork. Or I could spin it into luscious yarn, which I haven’t done since last February and I really should practice so I don’t forget how.

Or maybe both. That’s what I love about roving; it can become so many things! And I’ve just spent a bit of time on abstractfiber.com and I must say, YUM!

Scenes of Summer

Happy Independence Day!

Because photo posts please me, here are some scenes of summertime. Hope your summer is shaping up beautifully!

Lucas Threw In a Dandedion

Dandelion tossed into the creek, where it spirals around and around

Delicate

Mountain wildflowers

Meadow and Quaking Aspens

Lush meadows filled with every imaginable shade of green

Rescued Ladybugs

Sand and rescued ladybugs

Cabin with New Deck

Cabin’s looking pretty spiffy these days

Yellow

My lilies just keep blooming like mad; they put forth such effort!

Underwater

Lots of swimming pool time with Miss Brittany

Pinks and Greens

Pink and green hydrangea buds

California Sycamore

California sycamore shade and hot summer skies

Tahoe Part 1

It was time for some mountain love: some sunshine and pine cones, crystal-clear waters and rainbow trout, some wildflowers and ladybugs and lakeside splashing. What better way to spend a summer weekend?

Meadow and Mountain

Samuel Taylor Creek

Snowplant (Sarcodes snaguinea)

Snowplant

Aspens and Meadow

Quaking Aspen trunks and meadow

Canada Goose on the Loose

Canada Goose on the Tahoe lakeshore at Pope Beach

Blueberries

Summer snack

Sun, Sand, and Water

Sandcastle beginnings

Ladybugs Were Floating in the Lake Beach Baby
On the Rainbow Trail Asher Enjoys the Fish

Lucas rescued a dozen or more ladybugs from Lake Tahoe. Were they blown into the water?

Asher really got into the beach play this year; it’s so much closer to come here than to drive to the seashore!

The Rainbow Trail provided peeks at marsh life and fingerling fish and nice, big rainbow trout at the Stream Profile.

Drama

I don’t know what this plant is, but I thought it had lots of drama.

Running and Splashing

This is one happy 3-year-old!

Sunlight Through the Aspens

Sunlight through the Aspens near the family cabin

We hope your weekend was just as magical!

Seattle

Oh Seattle!

Ian and I took a three-day trip to Seattle, Washington to celebrate our 15th anniversary. We had an amazing time together, which was a wonderful balance of spending time alone and spending time with darling friends whom we don’t often see. We were treated to drinks and Seattle-brewed beer, attended a “babycue” (baby shower/BBQ for expecting friends), and got a marvelous driving tour around Seattle, featuring a walk through the arboretum, visits to Gasworks Park and the working locks, and a photo shoot with the Fremont Troll. Saturday featured glorious weather and it was perfect for such site-seeing. We waked our legs off all throughout the downtown area to Pioneer Square, along the waterfront to the Olympic Sculpture Park and past the Space Needle and the EMP/Science Fiction Museum. We visited the renowned Pesos for breakfast with friends and had a romantic, delicious dinner for two at the Palace Kitchen, where we didn’t even get off the appetizer menu. We received two passes to the Seattle Art Museum and spent two lovely hours with friends there; Ian really enjoyed the Andy Warhol film and photo exhibit and the Kurt Cobain exhibit. I took pictures of nearly everything, but not enough of the beautiful people we spent time with. Our room at the Hotel Max was terrific and very comfortable, especially after they moved us up to the tenth floor to a room with a downtown view,  and I’d recommend it if you’re hankering for some modern decor and really comfy pillows. It rained on us just enough to be authentically Seattle, but not enough to hinder our adventures in any way.

Old Married Folks

M and J took us to a gorgeous overlook in a ritzy neighborhood on a hill above Seattle—sorry, I forgot the name.

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Park mosaic table top near the Seattle Space Needle.

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Sculpture detail. This is fairly near the Needle.

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I was really impressed with the beautiful hanging baskets of flowers and garden planters all over the downtown area. Everything was clean and beautifully maintained. Even the manhole covers were artistic.

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This is the nighttime view from our hotel. Pretty!

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Irises at the Olympic Sculpture Park—there were so many and they were so beautiful; I liked them more than the sculptures.

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Part of the amazing Experience Music Project/Science Fiction Museum building. I think it’s a little schizo. We didn’t go inside this trip, but I know we will someday. I loved, loved, loved the reflective skin and shapes of this building.

Ian on the Waterfront Near Sculpture Park

Here’s Ian being handsome on the waterfront near the Sculpture Park.

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We love exploring places, love walking and walking and walking together. It’s been a really long time since we had the luxury of doing this, just the two of us. Everything I saw was beautiful because I was with my love.

Many, many thanks to our generous friends for showing us a fabulous time!

Coast Redwoods Day Trip: Muir Woods National Monument

We visited Muir Woods National Monument last Sunday. It’s a gorgeous old-growth coast redwood forest that sits on the edge of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area of California. We were hoping for a shady, easy hike for our kiddos in a breathtaking environment and my, did we get it! The price of admission was free, thanks to the National Park Service offering free admission the week of April 17 to April 25 in honor of Earth Day…

… which is today. So Happy Earth Day!

It was a perfect day. Gorgeous, warm. The park was crowded, but not so much that we felt we had made a mistake by coming. While hiking we heard at least six different languages being spoken, and possibly many more. At some point, my Californian ear just gives up and tries to determine a basic geographical origin, not a specific language. People were mostly very friendly.

Sequoia Sempervirens

I took this picture while sitting on a bench and leaning way, way back to shoot the tree behind me.

Twisty Roots

Twisty roots beside the path.

Like Stained-Glass Windows

Sparkling leaves (Bigleaf Maple, I think).

Illumination Apple!

The woods were bathed in shafts of sunlight and great swaths of shadow.

Leaping the Rivulet

Leaping over a rivulet. Everywhere Lucas went, Asher followed closely behind. I think we all hiked about four miles that day, and Asher kept right up.

Yellow Caterpillar

Lucas has a great eye for spotting creatures and also a gentle touch.

He Brought His Sketchbook Along

Goethe would be so proud! Lucas took his sketchbook and colored pencils along so he could draw in the forest. He chose as his subject the Bicentennial Tree, which started its life right around the time of our nation’s birth. There was a plaque and everything.

Mossy

The creek runs through the park, at times quiet and other times burbling.

Beetle

Another of Lucas’s trail finds: a very quick beetle.

Wild White Iris

A pretty lady we met along the way. Ferdinand Iris?

Too many pictures in one post? Probably. Sorry. I have many more on Flickr if you care to visit Muir Woods with us—sort of. Anyway, I hope for Earth Day you get to visit some unique, wild, or beautiful place on this earth, even if it’s only your own backyard.

Sweet Capitola

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Our Capitola vacation was perfectly lovely in almost every way. Our rented in-law suite worked well for us and we especially loved having the whole, gorgeous yard—complete with ocean view—to play in. We spent time outside, sitting and listening to the waves below, watching the birds dancing and spiraling in the air above the cliff and bay, sipping champagne, reading, and playing games with the boys. Asher and Lucas loved finding shovels and rakes to play with and a garden patch, containing bark to push around and dig, and a plastic play house. Our hosts were even gracious enough to drop some extra Duplo blocks for our kids to use.

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I think we may have accomplished just about everything on my agenda for those six days off, including a super-fun trip to the Santa Cruz boardwalk on Friday after Thanksgiving, where Lucas and Asher and Ian got to enjoy some rides. It was adorable watching Lucas sitting with Asher in a tiny helicopter, teaching him how to make it go up and down, and reassuring him when Asher was feeling nervous.

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Asher didn’t much care for the clown face into which you’re supposed to throw the brass rings you grab on the carousel. He refused to sit on a horse, but sat in my lap in a carriage instead. Lucas managed to grab the rings several times. I made Ian ride the kiddie race-car ride with Asher because it looked a little too fast and I thought Asher might get scared if Ian weren’t with him. They all had a blast.

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We picnicked on a grassy lawn in some blustery weather and afterward played some arcade games, which are not my favorite but everyone else enjoyed them. Word of warning: Do not allow Asher to drive any type of vehicle anytime soon! He is all too interested in pushing every possible button and pulling every possible lever as quickly and frequently as he can.

Naturally, we had our normal family and sibling squabbles, too. Having the spacious home and two bedrooms helped with that, though. I think Lucas would have enjoyed more time at the beach, of course. We did go several times for partial days. I worked a little, but not so much that it was oppressive.

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Other enjoyable moments included a walk to Gayle’s Bakery in Capitola on Wednesday morning, where we ate pastries and muffins outside, and then we paid a visit to Many Hands Gallery (where we didn’t break a thing!). We took walks into town (with some shopping), played lawn games, and watched sunsets over the ocean. Ian read to us from The Wind and the Willows before bedtime and he generously let me sleep in a tad in the mornings; he even figured out how to make good coffee with the French press. I got to knit some more on Asher’s sweater and even read a little. We even watched the new “Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” film together (Lucas and Asher prudently left the room during the Stone Table scenes but enjoyed all the rest of it). As some of you know, movies often don’t go over too well around here.

Lucas surprised us by requesting a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Although we weren’t really equipped for marathon cooking, we didn’t see any real reason to say no, so we bought a complete dinner from Safeway that fit the bill nicely. No, the food was not grand, but the setting was, so nobody minded. I’ve never had Thanksgiving dinner on a sunny cliff before! We called home on Thanksgiving to talk to our parents and watched “Tom and Jerry” cartoons while dinner was warming.

Of course, the beach was a favorite for all. I love to watch my boys playing in the sand and surf and stream and sun. I think they are most perfectly at peace in such places, perfectly alive and playful. There is a stream that runs into the sea on Capitola Beach and it makes the most divine place to play, with the stream running broadly and only about six inches deep. The water was cold, but that’s half the fun.

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It took Asher some time before he felt comfortable enough to leave our side. He sat peacefully playing in the sand for a long while, but when he finally braved touching the stream with his toes, it was only moments before he was soaked up to his thighs. He ran through the water, splashing up- and downstream for an hour and a half. He said he was surfing.

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Lucas braved the surf and got knocked down a few times when the waves came in bigger than he expected. He was OK, though, and got back up right away and went back for more. He must have been freezing, but that sort of thing doesn’t matter to a 7-year-old. I remember feeling exactly that way myself when I was his age.  Frankly, to this day, I cannot go to the seaside and NOT touch the sea. It’s just impossible; to forego touching the waves is a sacrilege to great to be borne.

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On our way home we stopped at Jeannie’s Christmas tree farm in the Santa Cruz mountains, Raccoon Gulch, and spent the afternoon there. We picnicked on turkey leftovers with Steve and Jeannie and met her parents. With Jeannie’s mom, Karen, Lucas made a “Spice Angel” with cinnamon sticks, bay leaves, yarn, and corn husk wings. (She’s lovely, and as soon as I find her acorn head, I’ll glue it back on and hang her up.)

Unfortunately, after we finished eating Jeannie had to leave for work. Steve led us through the woods along their “bike trail,” down into the gulch, over by the lake, and up to the “old barn.” It was so gorgeous and Lucas and Asher trooped along after Steve like mini Boy Scouts, listening intently as Steve identified plants and various fungi, and told stories about this fallen log or that thicket. Before long, my kids were shouting out, “Steve, here’s a mushroom!” Only for Asher, it was more like, “Teve! A mushooom!” (I’m really sad I didn’t take my camera along on this walk, but I was in the moment.)

I fell in love with the ~400-year-old oak tree at the end of Jeannie’s family’s property. So massive, so majestic—yet also it looked somewhat weary. Its huge branches grew up out of a giant trunk, out, and down— almost spiderlike. They rest on the ground for a span, as if they are too heavy to hold up, and then rise back up a little. It was very peaceful there in the dusk.

At the lake we had a long discussion about duckweed, and Lucas was determined to make biodiesel out of the duckweed he put in a bottle to take home. As far as I can tell, it is surviving the freezing weather in my backyard nicely, in the green plastic bucket where Lucas put it upon returning home.

More photos are now on my photos page or on  Flickr.

Thanksgiving

I’m breaking radio silence briefly to say,

Aaaahhh.

It’s so wonderful to relax. Perspective is a beautiful thing. I think I’ve found some of it again, now that I’ve had two whole days with minimal work and lots of lovey time with my family. We are enjoying ourselves tremendously. We even had a special Thanksgiving dinner today (thanks to Chez Safeway) that we ate in this glorious spot in the backyard of our rented vacation house, overlooking the rolling waves and frolicking surfers.

Life is beautiful.

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And Away We Go

I should be packing. I’ve spent almost the whole day trying to wrap up my work neatly, so I can go on vacation with a guilt-free conscience. I wasn’t able to tie as pretty a bow on everything as I would have liked, but I still have tomorrow morning, too.

I hope to be on the road by 10:00 a.m. We’ll see. I pulled out the packing list I made for our Bodega Bay vacation at Thanksgiving 2007; it was funny seeing some of the items we had to bring along, like baby food.

We  are all very excited to leave tomorrow! We are hoping to hook up with a few friends while we are near Capitola. I hope the house where we are staying will be cool. It should be!

Our plans for the week off include:

  • beach play
  • sand castles
  • strolling through town
  • eating out
  • eating in
  • Santa Cruz boardwalk
  • redwoods
  • meeting friends
  • flying kites
  • naps
  • cocktails
  • cuddles
  • play
  • reading
  • knitting
  • and some working

Sounds heavenly to me, except for that last little part. Wish us luck and safe travels!

Highlights from Daddy’s Birthday

My darling husband had a birthday last Friday; he turned “26” (which stands to reason since I turned “25” again this year and he’ll always be older than me).

Asher and Lucas and I baked him a lovely apple cake. The kids chopped the apples. It went kind of like this: “One for Daddy’s cake. One for me. One for Daddy’s cake. One fore me.”

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Here’s the cake before we frosted it with butter cream frosting and topped it with colorful sprinkles. Damn, it was good! Moist and spicy with nutmeg. I used the Apple Hill recipe and it turned out perfect.

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I roasted a chicken (and basted it with butter, garlic, and curry powder), which was beautiful and golden but I didn’t get a photo. I prepared a wonderful spinach salad and cauliflower purée, too. (It’s delish and a lot like mashed potatoes but not nearly so carby.) Ian’s sister and her boyfriend (we love them both dearly) joined us for dinner to help us celebrate. They brought the “Beatles Rock Band” game with all the equipment. We all played the game together and had a wonderful time!

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Lucas was great at singing “Yellow Submarine.” I haven’t sung into a mic in … well, 20 years. So that was both weird and really fun.

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Asher liked the colors on the game, but got discouraged or embarrassed at one point and gave up.

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On Saturday, a beautiful, chilly fall day, we got to celebrate with just grown ups. Ian and NoNo and I ate lunch in Placerville and then drove to a little town in the Sierra foothills called Fairplay. It’s south of Apple Hill and has lots of wineries to visit. We went to three of them and tasted Sirahs and Syrahs, and Cabernets and Sauvignon Blancs, Zins and Merlots, Muscats and Ports, and a couple of varietals that I’ve never before heard of. It was lovely, although I found after a while that tasting every other wine was a better plan for me.

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At the Winery by the Creek we got a treat we’d never before experienced. We tasted wine directly from the barrel. Young wine is weird and you have to try to “taste it forward.” For me, that didn’t mean much, but that’s probably because by the time we arrived there I was mostly done with wine tasting. We considered the merits of wine futures for the first time. NoNo was really tempted by both the Zinfandel and the Port, but left without buying either.

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Ian and I came home with about six bottles after our adventure. We gave one to my folks as a way of thanking them for watching our boys for the afternoon.

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  • About Sara

    Thanks for visiting! I'm Sara, editor and writer, wife to Ian, and mother of two precious boys. I am living each day to the fullest and with as much grace, creativity, and patience as I can muster. This is where I write about living, loving, and engaging fully in family life and the world around me. I let my hair down here. I learn new skills here. I strive to be a better human being here. And I tell the truth.

    Our children attend Waldorf school and we are enriching our home and family life with plenty of Waldorf-inspired festivals, crafts, and stories.

    © 2003–2017 Please do not use my photographs or text without my permission.

    "Love doesn't just sit there like a stone; it has to be made, like bread, remade all the time, made new." —Ursula K. LeGuinn

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